Reuben Wilson

Organ Donor

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Well, somebody had to title a soul-jazz organ album this eventually. Questionable puns aside, 1999's Organ Donor is a solid but unexceptional outing. In the '60s, Reuben Wilson was firmly in the second string of soul-jazz organ players, never quite making it to the ranks of "Brother" Jack McDuff or Jimmy Smith despite a string to good to great albums on Blue Note and other labels. Wilson had been keeping a low profile until the early-'90s acid jazz scene made organs a fashionable instrument again, causing the German label Ausfahrt to sign Wilson to re-record some of his most popular tunes with a younger, post-hip-hop set of musicians. The results aren't as embarrassing as they might be; Wilson is still a master at soulful grooves and meaty organ solos that come across with a minimum of flash but a ton of feeling, and his playing is excellent throughout. The problem is that the young no-names playing with him are nothing special, and the grooves never catch fire the way they should. "Groovin'" and "Got to Get Your Own '98" do benefit from the presence of singer Saundra Williams, however.

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