Gene Dunlap

It's Just the Way I Feel

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There's no denying drummer Gene Dunlap's résumé -- stints in support of Grant Green and Roy Ayers are the funk equivalent of earning Ph.D.s from Harvard and Yale -- so it's little surprise that his debut LP, It's Just the Way I Feel, is such an effective and engaging listen. Dunlap's operating well outside the jazz sphere, however, and despite some obvious fusion-inspired moments, this is first and foremost a straight-up soul album, with a strong balance between slick, dancefloor-ready groovers and heartfelt ballads. Most impressive is the handful of tracks featuring the Ridgeways, an all-girl vocal trio whose sexy harmonies mesh perfectly with Dunlap's crisp, supple rhythms.