Reuben Wilson – 1969 – Blue Mode

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Reuben Wilson Blue Mode front

Heavy funk from the mighty Reuben Wilson – one of his first few albums for Blue Note, and a solid soulful groover that’s right up there with Lou Donaldson’s work for the label at the time! Tracks are nice and long, and pretty open – often with that kicking drum sound at the bottom that you’d normally associate with Idris Muhammad, but which is handled here by Tommy Derrick on drums. Melvin Sparks plays some mighty mean guitar – in that great lean early style of his – and the group’s completed by John Manning on tenor, a player we don’t know at all – but whose lines here are a great counterpart to Wilson’s heavy Hammond!

Tracks
A1 Bambu 8:03
A2 Knock On Wood 6:09
A3 Bus Ride 6:09
B1 Orange Peel 6:36
B2 Twenty-Five Miles 7:11
B3 Blue Mode 7:26

Reuben Wilson Blue Mode back

If Love Bug skirted the edges of free jazz and black power, Blue Mode embraces soul-jazz and Memphis funk in no uncertain terms. Opening with the cinematic, stuttering “Bambu” and running through a set of relaxed, funky grooves — including covers of Eddie Floyd’s “Knock on Wood” and Edwin Starr’s “Twenty-Five Miles” — Blue Mode isn’t strictly a jazz album, but its gritty, jazzy vamps and urban soul-blues make it highly enjoyable. Reuben Wilson has a laid-back, friendly style and his supporting band — tenor saxophonist John Manning, guitarist Melvin Sparks, and drummer Tommy Derrick — demonstrate a similarly warm sense of tone. While none of them break through with any improvisations that would satiate hardcore jazz purists, they know how to work a groove, and that’s what makes Blue Mode a winner.

Reuben Wilson Blue Mode side 1

This is *THE* definitive funky organ groove album. Recorded in December of ’69, its a strong follow up to Reuben’s funky LOVE BUG  – despite not having the dream team line up of his previous LP which featured George Coleman, Grant Green, Lee Morgan and Idris Muhammad, this one is actually stronger and funkier, thanks in part to the presence of Melvin Sparks on the guitar. (John Manning on sax, Tommy Derrick on drums) – – The groove is timeless organic Memphis Soul meets JB funk – – Reuben kicks those trademark boogaloo style basslines, while firing all those mean licks with his right hand… John Manning’s playing is gritty and wicked – – clearly if you want to go deep down in the vaults looking for the best ’60s Blue Note funk you can find, this *is* it.

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Conversation for album: Reuben Wilson – 1969 – Blue Mode

19 Comments
  • Didier
    Posted at 21:14h, 03 July 2016 Reply

    Excellent Funk Jazz

  • Robert
    Posted at 09:19h, 04 July 2016 Reply

    Luv this Groove!

  • Gustavo
    Posted at 09:23h, 04 July 2016 Reply

    The entire album is a gem. Blue Mode is perhaps Reuben’s finest and my favorite. 

  • aiman
    Posted at 12:30h, 04 July 2016 Reply

    Well done! Great Piece Of Art! Thanks!

  • Pele
    Posted at 19:20h, 04 July 2016 Reply

    Folks, amazing work. Such a beautiful album.

  • Filmore
    Posted at 09:34h, 05 July 2016 Reply

    thanks for posting it.

  • Dell
    Posted at 09:21h, 06 July 2016 Reply

    wonderful lp..many thanks indeed!

  • Milan
    Posted at 19:09h, 06 July 2016 Reply

    Another cracking Lp, many thanks nikos as always!

  • rich
    Posted at 20:43h, 06 July 2016 Reply

    thank you nikos

  • Jack
    Posted at 08:39h, 07 July 2016 Reply

    Mad props for a great post and sharing.

  • Naro
    Posted at 11:33h, 07 July 2016 Reply

    Thanks! Never heard this one… seems like a good time to correct that.

  • Ronaldo
    Posted at 18:55h, 07 July 2016 Reply

    Well done! Great Piece Of Art! Thanks!

  • Champ
    Posted at 08:45h, 08 July 2016 Reply

    cant wait to hear this thanx nikos

  • Mr.Darsy
    Posted at 19:12h, 08 July 2016 Reply

    thanks for your hard work! you have a great thing going here!

  • Brick
    Posted at 11:19h, 09 July 2016 Reply

    Killer stuff

  • Kendrix
    Posted at 11:11h, 10 July 2016 Reply

    TIMELESS!!!!!

  • Gino
    Posted at 11:50h, 11 July 2016 Reply

    Just a true classic.

  • RTR
    Posted at 10:14h, 15 July 2016 Reply

    Beautiful Music!!!?

  • Soop
    Posted at 09:39h, 21 July 2016 Reply

    Love this,sounded so ahead of it’s time.

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