Gloria Coleman / Gloria Coleman Quartet

Soul Sisters

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One probably doesn't hear the name Gloria Coleman thrown around quite as often as other organists of the day. Similarly, the Impulse! label wasn't particularly known as a home for organ combos, but perhaps that's what makes this title the underappreciated gem that it is. Soul Sisters, in retrospect, would have probably made more sense as a Blue Note release, as it has much more in common with sessions like Freddie Roach's Good Move or John Patton's Along Came John than much of the Impulse! catalog. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, though they both worked for other labels as well, guitarist Grant Green and engineer Rudy Van Gelder -- both present on this session -- are virtually synonymous with the Blue Note sound. Green in particular, with his distinct style and patented licks, makes it easy to forget that you aren't listening to any number of different Blue Note titles. Both he and alto saxophonist Leo Wright are in fine form throughout. Unfortunately, fans expecting the blistering maelstrom of a Jimmy Smith/Art Blakey set or the syrupy blues of a John Patton/Ben Dixon session might find themselves a bit underwhelmed. Coleman, while a perfectly competent player in her own right, is simply not up to the level of Smith, Patton, Shirley Scott, or any of the other masters commonly associated with jazz organ. Then again -- and to her credit -- few are. All the same, these details shouldn't impair one's ability to enjoy this record on its own terms. Recommended for fans of the comparable titles listed above if for no other reason than to hear the consistently inspired solos of Wright.

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