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Reuben Wilson: Movin’ On

Could this be the same Reuben Wilson who recorded the ultra-hip 1969 Blue Note classic, Love Bug? It hardly seems so. What this largely smooth-jazz offering lacks is four key elements-Lee Morgan, George Coleman, Grant Green and Idris Muhammad, all of whom played on Love Bug back in the day. Instead, the playing here is purely pedestrian by comparison and the choice of material doesn’t help Wilson’s cause. Even the presence of “Bad” Wilbur Bascomb on bass can’t save this sad offering.

Flaws abound. The synth seasoning and time lag on the torturously leaden “Slick Willie” are unfortunate. “Miss Mansfield” is a saccharine, nondescript soul ballad while “Watch Me Fly” is fatback fodder hampered by static, workmanlike backbeats. Wilson doesn’t particularly distinguish himself as a virtuosic B3 soloist here. His playing on Bobby Caldwell’s soul classic “What You Won’t Do for Love,” his own ballad “Feel Free” or his take on “Caught Up in the Rapture,” Anita Baker’s hit from the mid-’80s, seems perfunctory and uninspired. They do register some ticks on the excitement meter on the James Brown-ish “Waita Minute,” which puts the fun in funk. And “Funk Farm” is a catchy boogaloo original co-composed by Wilson and guitarist Grant Green, Jr. Groove-mongers may dig this, but serious B3 mavens may want to pass.

Originally Published