Worry over the future of jazz can be dispelled with dispatch in the One Step Down tonight where young tenor-sax lion Ricky Ford will hold forth again. Most horn players fronting a quartet will rest on a ballad after a head-over-heels opening number, but Ford hardly took a breath and was off and running last night on another dash.
"Dexter" was built up from a simple motif, an aborted Woody Woodpecker theme (which Charlie Parker was fond of quoting), that was reexamined from myriad perspectives by Ford and pianist Albert Daily. "A Flat Now" had a momentum at least as headlong as the opener. Ford rolled up great breakers on both numbers, his ideas pouring out in torrents.
It was fitting that Ford, whose big sound is cut from the same cloth as Coleman Hawkins', followed with "Body and Soul," at first abstracting the melody a cappella and then offering an interpretation that took it from melodic purity to its bare bones.
Daily, who works regularly with Ford, is a marvelously inventive pianist who builds to crescendos that equal Ford's tumultuous solos. His single-note lines, hammered out like mallets on a bell, were like solitary dances over his hard-driving left hand. Bassist Tomy Cecil and drummer Hugh Walker created a veritable blast-furnace beneath the other two on the mostly up-tempo first set.