Uncharacteristically, the sounds of an organ quartet flooded the One Step Down last night. And while the formulas were simple and cliche's abounded, the club's patrons were enjoying leader Jimmy McGriff's directness along with the basic blues that marked every number of the first set.
Power is the essence of the R&B-oriented style of which McGriff is a leading exponent -- power and the church-derived call and response routine that the instrument's sustaining mechanisms are capable of simulating. McGriff's mastery of this approach was well executed on an up-tempo "Sweet Georgia Brown."
Melvin Sparks proved to be an expressive guitarist deeply rooted in the blues. Major solo space was allowed him in every number. And he never failed to impress with an arresting statement. His musical language combined an economy that left long bent notes suspended and flurries of 16ths that chattered like magpies on a fence.
Tenor saxophonist/flutist Bill Cody diplayed a penchant for truncated quotes of everything from standard ballads to "Pop Goes the Weasel" that is part and parcel of the extrovertish role that a reed player must assume in such a format. Drummer Greg Bandy moved the proceedings along like the proverbial juggernaut.
The quartet resumes tonight.