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Downbeat tells us about Ed Cherry’s Exhilarating Swing “Soul Tree”


An irrepressibly swinging guitarist who is also given to blues-soaked phrasing, Ed Cherry is in that lineage of classic organ group six-stringers that includes Pat Martino, George Benson, Grant Green and Wes Montgomery. One can even hear strains of Charlie Christian in his soulful solo on a swinging rendition of Kool & The Gang’s “Let The Music Take Your Mind,” which kicks off this winning trio outing featuring underrated organist Kyle Koehler and the wonderfully interactive drummer Anwar Marshall.

The musicians stroll through Jimmy Heath’s “A New Blue” in relaxed fashion, then apply a Latin tinge to Cherry’s buoyant boogaloo, “Rachel’s Step,” both of which showcase Koehler’s brilliant solo contributions.

The Latin flavor returns on an interpretation of Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes,” then the trio goes for the all-out burn on an uptempo rendition of Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower,” which has Cherry dipping into his Wes bag for some excellent octaves playing.

Highlights abound on this hand-in-glove organ trio outing. Cherry’s breezy “Little Girl Big Girl” has Koehler manipulating tones at the peak of his exhilarating solo in show-stopping fashion, while the guitarist opens his gently swinging rendition of Horace Silver’s gorgeous “Peace” with a beautiful unaccompanied intro before Marshall underscores with brushes and Koehler supplies velvety comping underneath.

Additionally, the trio delivers a whimsical take on John Coltrane’s “Central Park West” and a swinging rendition of Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way” that gives everyone a solo and surprisingly morphs into a funky, Meters-inspired throwdown near the end. This Soul Tree yields some very tasty fruit indeed.

4 stars ★ ★ ★ ★

Bill Milkowski  –  Downbeat Magazine


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Dusty Groove reviews Ed Cherry’s new one “Soul Tree”


A killer guitar and Hammond session with a really sublime sort of sound – a groove that’s wonderfully free of cliche – and which has an open, spacious quality that few artists can match! Given the instrumentation, the album’s steeped in tradition, but never tries to just rehash an older Prestige Records vibe – and instead guitarist Ed Cherry and organist Kyle Koehler find a way of soaring out in their own spirits – opening up strongly in a bass-less trio that only features the drums of Anwar Marshall to keep things snapping along. The pairing is perfect – on the level of Grant Green with Larry Young, or Pat Martino with Don Patterson – yet very much with its own spirit, too. Cherry’s arrangements are great, too – providing very fresh takes on familiar tunes, alongside his own compositions. Titles include “Central Park West”, “A New Blue”, “Rachel’s Step”, “Ode To Angela”, “Little Sunflower”, “Little Girl Big Girl”, and “Peace”.

Dusty Groove

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Midwest Record – Ed Cherry will drive you to the “Soul Tree”


The vet guitar man that more than earned his spurs in Dizzy Gillespie’s last stand kicks an organ trio into gear on his latest that explores the past with a big ear open to the future. A real swinging groover of a date, all you need to do is sit back and let Cherry and his crew do all the driving–which they do in a big, bold way. Hot stuff that never let’s you down, this is a solid date from start to finish.

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WBGO praises the new release that is “Soul Tree” by Ed Cherry

The first time I heard guitarist Ed Cherry live, he was working with Dizzy Gillespie, one night in a 15 year period with the legendary trumpeter, and part of a career that’s had him also on record or on stage with Ruth Brown, Jimmy McGriff, Oliver Lake, Dakota Staton, Roy Hargrove, Steve Coleman and John Patton.

I remember another night where I found myself in a basement club of a hotel in Cape May, New Jersey, watching Ed Cherry making the walls sweat as much as he was, burning it up, leading an organ trio.

It’s this feel we find when taking in Cherry’s new cd, “Soul Tree”, a tight threesome with organist Kyle Koehler and drummer Anwar Marshall.

The soul’s not far from this tree, as right away we’re foot tappin’ along to a straight ahead version of Kool and the Gang’s “Let The Music Take Your Mind”, just one of the hard swinging highlights this fresh take trio has to offer.

Jimmy Heath’s “A New Blue” is a late night blue light driver, the guitarist’s soulful lines merging effortlessly with the Koehler’s organ chants and Marshall’s rhythms. What we get is a new hue on this encounter.

“Rachel’s Step”, a Cherry original, has a forward paying spirit, the leader’s guitar bringing all the sense memory of those early days listening to James Brown, Booker T and the MG’s and other hip R&B instrumentals of the day.

Mall Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” has an easy, bossa feel, the trio in no hurry to show off their synergy. Let the music show it, and it does. Cherry’s rhythms are a great palette for Koehler’s relaxed organ work. The leader’s lines a comfortable display of guitar mastery.

Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” gets a kick up as the guitarist and his soul mates find new territory to explore. Damn! This is a tight trio! You’ll miss your exit if this one’s on in the whip.

There’s a moving thoughtful display on John Coltrane’s “Central Park West” and “Little Girl Big Girl”, a Cherry chart for the date.

“Ode To Angela”, by saxophonist Harold Land, finds new land in a relaxed expression, it’s Latin feel sure to make Angela and you feel just right with the world.

With Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way”, The guitarist leads the way, building this one with an infectious energy Brubeck would surely have dug, the leader’s lines finding a new soulful spirit in this classic.

The last branch is a gorgeous interpretation of Horace Silver’s “Peace”, something in this time we could all use more of.

The kid who at age 11 knew who Charlie Parker and Grant Green were, shows by his formidable new recording that we know who he is. Ed Cherry has made a recording he should be proud of, a recording we at WBGO are proud to share with you.

“Soul Tree” comes out February 19th from Posi-tone Records. He’ll celebrate the release at Smalls in NYC on March 30th.


Gary Walker / WBGO