Local bar + jazz = great combo...
By Chet Eagleman, Jr.
To be marginally successful in the band biz, you have to hook up with the same musician friends who musically think like you do and dig the same kind of sounds. Next, find your own sound. Then, record some of your originals; maybe get them on your website.
But it's also important to find your own place to play every week so you can develop an audience.
With that said, the elusive last piece of the proverbial puzzle seems to have just fallen into place for Organissimo, the stellar jazz/jam-flavored trio now playing at Founders Ale House. They seem to have it all now; a hip and accessible style, a cool website, and now a happenin' place to play.
Organissimo holds an affinity and flair for the innovation of hardbop jazz, particularly the Jimmy Smith/Wes Montgomery groove era. A constant with jazz is the jam that stretches out, with soloist creating on the spot. That classic free-style jazz spirit is kept alive this day and serves as a broad avenue for Organissimo's rendering of three of today's groove-laden dance sounds: the extended-jam, soul/funk grooves of Medeski Martin & Wood, John Scofield, and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe.
"We're really a two-headed monster in some ways, who love to jam and create spontaneously. But we're really after original compositions and extending on the jazz tradition by going forward on what has already been done," says Hammond B3 organist Jim Alfredson, noting that new tunes often emerge from improvised jams.
With the kind of talent driving their musical direction, it would seem like now is the time for Organissimo's GR audience to take off. True music lovers should make the most of this next door chance to feel and witness the soulful organic grooves of this soon-to-blow-up act.
So far Organissimo has been digging the vibe of the Hop Heads at Founders.
"We have a younger crowd in Grand Rapids who really like to dance. The people who come out to see us stay the whole evening and that's cool when you can hold their attention like that," says Alfredson, only a couple of years out of MSU himself.
"When the venue and fans get to know you, people start coming back every week because they know what to expect. Founders is doing the musical community and the community at large a favor because not many clubs have any kind of patience to stick with a band."
If you appreciate solid sound, a comfortable place to hang, and a good brew, check out Organissimo.
"Founders has been very supportive. Not many places let you play your own stuff. It's a nice hang out and they have good beers," says Alfredson laughing.
Organissimo are former MSU jazz program alumni Alfredson and guitarist Joe Gloss who are joined by the ever imaginative local jazz drum virtuoso Randy Marsh.
Visit www.organissimo.org for live, full length MP3 and Real Audio samples.