Reuben Wilson

Azure Te

(CD - 18th & Vine #1059)

Review by

It's hard to believe that jazz organist Reuben Wilson actually retired from music for a time beginning during the 1980s, but he went for a long spell without any recording opportunities as a leader, until a revival of interest in his music prompted steady work beginning in the middle of the following decade. Azure Te is an admirable effort because of Wilson's seasoned chops and the diversity of material selected for the session, in addition to the contributions of guitarist Rodney Jones, alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and drummer J.T. Lewis. Starting with a breezy interpretation of Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple," the quartet displays an amazing energy without resorting to overplaying at any point. One surprise is the wonderfully funky setting of the country ballad "Streets of Laredo," while "Summertime" benefits from a peppy setting, with a particularly thoughtful, bluesy solo by Jones. Wilson does justice to the late organist Wild Bill Davis' "Azure Te," a snappy yet understated swinger. Wilson's soul-jazz roots are on display in his invigorating originals "Still Grooving" and "Kitchen Fire Blues." Recommended.

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