hammond b-3 organist
the late 60s, organist Reuben Wilson began ascending to his current status as
a "godfather" of acid-jazz with "On Broadway", the first in a string of albums
for Blue Note Records. With these recordings Wilson revealed a command of funk
that helped redefine the soul jazz movement created by the likes of Jimmy Smith,
Jimmy McGriff and Richard "Groove" Holmes. "l was impressed by the great players,"
Wilson said in an interview with Carlo Wolff for The Plain Dealer, But I thought
the music could be well served by a pop feeling, I liked what drummers Bernard
Purdie and ldris Muhammad were doing [Wilson has recorded with both drummers].
They were different from an Art Blakey or a Max Roach. Their appeal was to a
While some collectors
believe his best work is represented on his five Blue Note releases, Wilson
also laid down some trailblazing sides for the Groove Merchant and Chess/Cadet
labels. During the '80s, "Got To Get Your Own," the title track to his 1974
Cadet album, caught on in dance clubs in England, "I was in Europe with the
Fatback Band, when I heard about it," recalls Wilson. "All of a sudden, the
news people from the trades and all were interviewing me separately from the
Fatback Band. "That's when l found out l had this big record. "Got To Get Your
Own", now an acid jazz classic, the song was reworked by Wilson for Organ Donor,
his 1998 release for the Jazzateria label. Wilson's influence was still evident
in the '90s thanks to such groups as US3 Tribe Called Quest and Nas sampling
his compositions "Ronnie's Bonnie" and "Were In Love," along with his arrangement
of "Inner City Blues," In 1995 Wilson toured Europe, Japan and North America
as part of Guru's Jazzmatazz II, a crowd-pleasing all-star aggregation also
featuring Kenny Garrett, Zachary Breaux and Donald Byrd.
Reuben Wilson, a former
professional boxer who helped usher in a new musical era over 30 years ago,
continues to have a profound influence on the modern music scene. "Today, I'm
playing to the children of my original audience", Wilson noted. "I feel like
l made a real contribution musically, and I feel very good about the fact that
it's actually given me legend status in Europe." In 1997, Wilson received his
first gold disc for his compositions on the US3 recording Hand On The Torch.
That same year he collaborated with Dr. Lonnie Smith on the Hip Bop Organic
Grooves II LP and Blue Note reissued two of his albums: Love Bug (1969), with
trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist George Coleman, guitarist Grant Green
and drummer ldris Muhammad (then known as Leo Morris); and Blue Mode (1969)
with tenor saxophonist John Manning, guitarist Melvin Sparks and drummer Tommy
Derrick. Born April 9, 1935 in Mounds, Oklahoma, at age five Wilson moved with
his family to Pasadena, California, where his schoolmates included bassist Herb
Lewis and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. He started playing professionally in
Los Angeles, and in the mid 60s went to New York and worked with a range of
artists from Sam Rivers to Grant Green, Roy Haynes to Willis "Gatortail" Jackson.
Also after arriving in New York, Wilson formed a trio called the Wildare Express
with Tommy Derrick, the drummer who would appear on the organist's Blue Note
debut. Wilson still resides in New York, still actively tours, and sounds better
- Organ Blues (Jazzateria
#20309-2) 2002 w/ Bernard Purdie (d), Grant Green, Jr. (g), Special guest:
- Masters Of Groove
(Jazzateria #20306-2) 2001 w/ Bernard Purdie (d), Grant Green, Jr. (g), Tarus
Mateen (b), Special guest: Leo Gandelman (s), & Mauro Refosco (p)
- Organized "Yes Sir"
(BMG) #75902-10359-2, 2000 W/ Melviin Sparks (g), Bernard Purdie (d), Stanley
Banks (b), Jason Forsythe (trb), Kenny Rampton (tr), Donny McCsalin (s).
- Down Wit' it (Cannonball)
#27106 W/ Melvin Sparks (g), Ed Cherry (g), Reggie Nicholson (d), Melvin Butler
(ts), Steve Barrios (p)
- Organ Donor (Jazzateria
#20298-2, 1998) w/ Robin Macatangay (g), Bruce Flowers (k), Melvin Butler
(ts), (as), (s), (f), Chris Parks (b), Ricardo Rodriquez (p), Adrian Harpham
(d), Donny Mcaslin (ts)& (f), Jason Forsythe (trb), Kenny Rampton (t), Saundra
Williams, Starr Adkins (v)
- Live @ SOB's (Jazzateria
001, 1996 (Out Of Print)
- Rare Grooves (Blue
Note, 1996) - Compilation, re-issue of "Bus Ride" & "Hot Rod"
- The Lost Grooves
(Blue Note, 1995) - Compilation, first issue of "Hold On, I'm Comin' "
- New York Funkies
- Hip Hop Bop! (Meldac Japan, 1995) w/ Stanley Turrentine (ts), David Weiss
(tp), Ed Cherry (g), Idris Muhammad (d)
- Shades of Red (EMI,
1995) - Compilation, re-recording of "Love Bug" w/ Ronnie Cuber (bs)
- Nas - ILLmatic (Columbia,
1994) - Sample of "We're in Love" on "Memory Lane"
- US3 - Hand On The
Torch (Blue Note, 1993) - Sample of "Ronnie's Bonnie" on "I Got It Goin' On"
Tribe Called Quest - Tribe Called Quest (Jive) - Sample of "Inner City Blues"
- Straight No Chaser
(Blue Note, 1993) - Compilation, re-issue of "Ronnie's Bonnie"
- Blue Break Beats
Vol.2 (Blue Note, 1992) - Compilation, re-issue of "Orange Peel"
- Giant Steps (EMI
UK) - Compilation, re-issue of "Hot Rod"
- The Cisco Kid (Groove
Merchant, 1974) w/ Melvin Sparks (g)
- Bad Stuff (Groove
- The Sweet Life (Groove
- Got To Get Your Own
(Chess/Cadet) Walk On By (Brunswick)
- Set Us Free (Blue
Note, 1971) w/ Jerome Richardson (as, ts), Gene Bianco (h), David Spinozza
(g, el. sitar), Richard Davis (b), Jimmy Johnson (d), Ray Armando (c), Gordon
"Specs" Powell (perc.), Wade Marcus (arr.)
- Groovy Situation
(Blue Note, 1970) w/ Earl Turbinton (as), Eddie Diehl (g), Harold White (d)
- Blue Mode (Blue Note,
1969) w/ John Manning (ts), Melvin Sparks (g), Tommy Derrick (d)
- Love Bug (Blue Note,
1969) w/ Lee Morgan (tp), George Coleman (ts), Grant Green (g), Leo Morris
aka Idris Muhammad (d)
- On Broadway (Blue
Note, 1968) w/ Trevor Lawrence (ts), Malcolm Riddick (g), Tommy Derrick (d)