Essence All Stars

Bongo Bop

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This is an interesting if rather unfocused tribute to the jazz organ. Organists Joey DeFrancesco, Reuben Wilson, Doug Carn and Lonnie Smith appear in different combinations; Carn's interpretation of Max Roach's "Raoul" is a highlight. Carn has two individual features, and Smith plays an unusual version of Herbie Nichols' "The Lady Sings the Blues." In addition, there are organ duets by DeFranceso and the long obscure Reuben Wilson, by Wilson and Smith, and by Carn with DeFrancesco. Drummer Idris Muhammad and Papo Pepin (on bongos) are on every track, and there are guest appearances by trombonist Josh Roseman, violinist Michal Urbaniak (who steals solo honors every time he appears), clarinetist Bob Franceschini and altoist Jorge Sylvester. In addition, DeFrancesco plays two short and inconclusive versions of "Bongo Bop" that find Roseman doing a close impression of J.J. Johnson. Overall, this is a bit of a hodgepodge collection, but organ fans and those listeners who wonder whatever happened to Reuben Wilson and Doug Carn will certainly want to acquire it.

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