Odell Brown

Mellow Yellow

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While Odell Brown & the Organ-Izers' debut effort, Raising the Roof, favored the latter half of the soul-jazz equation, the follow-up, Mellow Yellow, is all about the former, drawing on inspirations from James Brown to Sergio Mendes to create smooth, finger-snapping grooves rooted in the Chicago soul sound of the late '60s. Spanning covers both obvious ("Ain't That a Groove") and left-field (Martin Denny's "Quiet Village"), Brown's arrangements are consistently fresh and appealing, and the rhythm section -- bassist Louis Satterfield, drummer Curtis Prince, and percussionist Henry Gibson -- absolutely cooks. And though Brown's name is above the title, tenor saxophonist Artee "Duke" Payne contributes a series of incendiary solos that elevate the music to a different level -- the title track, a swaggering cover of Donovan's psychedelic anthem, remains the best thing the group ever recorded.