Reuben Wilson

The Sweet Life

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After a series of sugary soul-jazz dates for Blue Note, Reuben Wilson resurfaced on Groove Merchant with The Sweet Life. The title notwithstanding, the session is his darkest and hardest-edged to date, complete with a physicality missing from previous efforts. Credit tenor saxophonist Ramon Morris, trumpeter Bill Hardman, guitarist Lloyd Davis, bassist Mickey Bass, and drummer Thomas Derrick, whose skin-tight grooves sand away the polished contours of Wilson's organ solos to reveal their diamond-sharp corners. The material, while predictable (i.e., standbys like "Inner City Blues" and "Never Can Say Goodbye"), is nevertheless well suited to the set's righteous funk sound.

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