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Detroit Free Press - October 28, 2005

Live taping one for ages


Anyone who follows jazz knows that recordings taped live in a nightclub benefit from a relaxed vibe and spontaneity that's difficult to create in the cold confines of a studio. And anyone who has been in a club when the tape machine is rolling knows how thrilling the experience can be, especially when you hear the applause on the finished product months later.

This weekend we can bear witness to the Lansing-based trio Organissimo as it records its latest CD at Baker's Keyboard Lounge, the legendary Detroit nightspot whose storied history, deco décor, cozy intimacy and hipster aura make it the platonic ideal of a jazz club. The band's organist, Jim Alfredson, told me last week that several factors pushed the group toward making its first live record.

First, the group has a backlog of original material that didn't make it onto its previous recordings. Moreover, a fissure has emerged between Organissimo's CDs, which focus on those originals, and its nightclub repertoire, which includes a healthy dose of covers of classic tunes associated with organists Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Larry Young, as well as contemporary songs by folks like guitarist John Scofield (for whom Organissimo opened last week at the Magic Bag).

"Here's a chance to hear what we do live," says Alfredson, who is joined in the group by guitarist Joe Gloss and drummer Randy Marsh.

Organissimo's sound is rooted in the vintage soul-jazz language of greasy boogaloo grooves, blues, funky swamp beats and Latin derivatives, but the band retains a contemporary bite. And having recently returned from an East Coast road trip, the trio ought to be cooking on all cylinders. 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Baker's Keyboard Lounge, 20510 Livernois. 313-345-6300.