Essence All Stars

Organic Grooves

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The Essence All-Stars, one of several notable ensembles gathered together by the Hip Bop label, pays tribute to the jazz organ tradition on this consistently groovin' CD. Organists Joey DeFrancesco and Lonnie Smith are heard on two songs apiece and jam cheerfully together on "Broadway." Altoist Kenny Garrett (who has the most advanced solos) is on three selections, while Grover Washington Jr. is on two; they both appear on Tina Brooks' blues "True Blue." Guitarist Tony Purrone helps out on all five tracks, and drummer Idris Muhammad is on four, while producer Lenny White sits in on drums for Larry Young's "Luny Tune." But even with all of the personnel changes, the music is pretty consistent, emphasizing bluesy grooves and soulful solos. There is enough variety to keep listeners interested, and despite a certain amount of predictability, the performances are quite accessible and enjoyable.

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