Paul Bollenback

Double Gemini

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Other than Sergio Mendes' "So Many Stars," the music on this CD will probably be quite unfamiliar to most jazz listeners. In addition to four originals by the leader-guitarist, there is a song apiece by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Earth, Wind And Fire, Hootie And The Blowfish, Sting and Stevie Wonder. But the results actually fit securely into the soul jazz organ tradition. Guitarist Paul Bollenback, who has an appealing sound and an adaptable style, reharmonized some of the simpler pieces, stripped them of their pop rhythms and alternated swinging numbers with slower grooves. Although the strongest numbers are "So Many Stars" and the guitarist's solo rendition of his own "Cat's Eye," none of the selections are throwaways, and Wonder's "I Am Singin'" really cooks. Organist Joey DeFrancesco sounds fairly restrained and happy to be a sideman for a change, still showing off the strong influence of Jimmy Smith. Drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts is solid in support. Although it is doubtful if any of these songs (other than "So Many Stars") will catch on in the jazz world (the melodies are not overly strong), the performances on this disc are excellent and should interest soul-jazz collectors.

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