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MARK STRYKER'S JAZZ HIGHLIGHTS: Trio Organissimo set to lay down greasy grooves at Baker's

August 12, 2005


The Lansing-based organ trio Organissimo has been spreading its wings of late, performing more and more frequently in metro Detroit, and that's good news for anyone who loves the life-of-the-party vibe emanating from a kick-butt Hammond organist surrounded by simpatico mates. The trio returns to Baker's Keyboard Lounge this weekend for the second time since May, and this time, the band has a new CD to plug.

"This is the Place" (Big O Records) is a gas. Organist Jim Alfredson, guitarist Joe Gloss and drummer Randy Marsh have a gift for classic soul-jazz language and a special fondness for greasy boogaloo grooves. The trio knows how to stomp the blues, bring a Latin twist to a standard ballad, turn up the heat for a rip-snorting romp in 6/8 or get down-and-dirty inside a funky-swamp beat.

Alfredson handles the organ duties with panache, guitarist Gloss' solos and accompaniment mesh wonderfully and drummer Marsh lays down a red carpet of boogie with veteran authority. There's nothing too complicated about Organissimo's approach: It's music that reminds of saxophonist Johnny Griffin's aphorism that jazz is music for people who have decided to feel good in spite of conditions. It's a shame that the organizers of the annual Detroit International Jazz Festival have yet to get hip to Organissimo, but perhaps this showcase gig will fuel the grassroots buzz. 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Baker's Keyboard Lounge, 20510 Livernois. 313-345-6300. No cover.