Reuben Wilson

by Bob Putignano

Reuben Wilson

Reuben Wilson: 35 years apart, "A Groovy Situation" & "Fun House"

Organ B3 bandleader Reuben Wilson has two new releases, one recorded on Blue Note "A Groovy Situation" (1970), and the brand new "Fun House" for the High Note/Savant record label (2005.)

Water Records has just released the fourth of five recordings Reuben delivered for Blue Note, with Earl Turbinton- alto, Eddie Diehl- guitar, Harold White- drums and Reuben Wilson on B3 and keyboards. Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's studio.

I was hanging out with Reuben showing him the liner notes to "A Groovy Situation" and he says to me is: "I remember that sweater (laughs,) and man- we had fun making that record."

The groove speaks boldly. Highlights include the Wilson penned "Sweet Tooth" which burns throughout. The title track simmers slowly and features nice guitar work from guitarist Diehl. How about the cover of the (Flo & Eddie's) smash hit "Happy Together" which needless to say is far more soulful than the original Turtles version. The CD closes with the funkiest tune, Stevie Wonder's chart buster "Sign, Sealed, Delivered."

Perhaps "A Groovy Situation" is not Reuben's strongest recording, but it's a welcome addition, as it has been long out of print.

2005: The surroundings are the same as Reuben is back at Rudy Van Gelder's studio, with Reuben's long time musical cohort- Melvin Sparks on board for both production duty and solid guitar work, for Reuben's "Fun House."

The opener is Hank Marr's "Easy Talk." The perky "Fun House" by Wilson features an extended guitar solo by Sparks and Wilson. Other standouts are a cool cover of the Isley Brother's "For the Love of You," Reuben's shuffling "Ronnie's Bonnie," and drummer Mike Clark's "Loft Funk."

It's great to see Reuben and Melvin together again (they are so in synch with each-other,) as are Headhunter Mike Clark on drums, and Cochemea Gastelum on sax. Long live the soul/jazz/funk!

Bob Putignano

Bob Putignano
Radio Host WFDU's "Sounds of Blue"
President of the NY Blues and Jazz Society