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Primary Instrument: Organ, Hammond B3

Born: April 9, 1935

In 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 younger crowd.” 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....
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