Exact repro reissue; originally issued on Blue Note in 1969.
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.