Charles Earland (1941-1999) emerged on the jazz scene as the Great Wave of '60s Jazz Organ was cresting-the same "school" whose most popular exponents were Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Jimmy McGriff. Earland was heavily influenced by Smith, but had his own brisk, mercurial good-time uptown sound. (Whereas Smith and especially McDuff has that down-home "greasy/chicken shack" quality, Earland did his cooking in bop-marinade.) THE ALMIGHTY BURNER compiles some of his prime cuts from his 1976-1991 stay at Muse, featuring the tenors of senior soul-jazz sax-veteran Houston Person and then up-and-coming soul-jazz/hard bopper Eric Alexander and the one of the genre's best guitarists, Jimmy Ponder. The '70s soul/R&B-style "Tackhead" features some tasty (mellow yet inventive) playing from Person, and the Miles Davis standard "Milestone" is earnest, straight-down-the-middle hard bop. The Carlos Santana tune "Europa" is given a stately, sultry and thoroughly cinematic treatment-and proves that Earland was not stuck in the '60s (or the '70s, for that matter). BURNER is a fine, varied collection proving "groove/easy listening " and "real jazz" can coexist with panache. I rate this one, 3 buckets of BBQ!