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Reuben Wilson: Fun House

Veteran organist Reuben Wilson checks in with a quartet session that attests to the continued viability of the funk and soul-jazz genre in these days of revival. The grooves are fat and crisp thanks to the unity of guitarist Melvin Sparks, ex-Headhunters drummer Mike Clark and the leader. Alto saxophonist Cochemea Gastelum provides a bright voice on top, with occasional flashes of the Hank Crawford-David Sanborn sound.

Wilson’s modus operandi as a soloist includes short linear bursts followed by chordal jabs and sometimes Jimmy Smith-like riffs, call-and-response phrases and sweeping climactic runs. He’s an efficient soloist who always connects with the groove. Ditto veteran Sparks, who is fond of quotes.

Clark’s “Loft Funk,” the most unusual tune, recalls Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance” and employs Gastelum with an octave divider attached to the alto. His solo is surprisingly Harrislike. The remainder of the set serves the need for a variety of dance grooves. You can put this album on when you need to clear the air, get back to the basics and dig a little fun.

Originally Published