Kombo, the laid-back duo of Ron Pedley and Jon Pondel, continues to welcome listeners to its groove café with a nice mix of funky retro and soul-jazz on its second release for GRP, Cookin' Out. The much-anticipated follow-up to the smash debut hit The Big Blast is filled with 12 songs that savor the '60s R&B/soul-jazz influences of Ramsey Lewis, Horace Silver, and Herbie Hancock, along with several made famous by War and the Crusaders. However, the ensemble completely wraps these classics in Kombo's musical creativity. The Hammond C-3 organ plays a prominent part in this great groove-out, with Pedley cookin' up a storm on "Dirty Martini" and "Line of March." The medley "Use Me/Green-Eyed Lady" is great ear candy and never sounds outdated because Kombo's update keeps the most memorable riff from "Green-Eyed Lady" tucked away, and doesn't feature it until the very moment you least expect it. It's the way Pedley pulls it out of his groove bag and adds it to the mix that keeps this song sizzling. Kombo adds another musical dimension not heard on its debut with Matt Bissonette, who returns on electric and acoustic basses. Other rather significant guests on Cookin' Out include Everette Harp on tenor sax, Luis Conte on percussion, and vocalist Sharon Hendrix, who has also appeared with Bob Dylan. Together, they really pull off this great set of originals and groovy classics.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein