The Groover Quartet / Mike LeDonne

Smokin' Out Loud

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Mike LeDonne, who is better known as a pianist, is also a talented organist in the Jimmy Smith/Charles Earland/Don Patterson tradition. His quartet set is straight-ahead hard bop rather than soul-jazz, with excellent solos from LeDonne, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, and guitarist Peter Bernstein (who is particularly strong on "Delilah") and fine support from drummer Joe Farnsworth. Most memorable are a pair of medium-tempo blues ("You'll See" and "Pisces Soul"), "Silverdust" (which is based partly on the chord changes of "King Porter Stomp"), and a cooking version of "Close to You." Although nothing innovative or overly surprising occurs, the music is well played and Alexander in particular has plenty of spirited solos.

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