Godfathers of Groove at NightTown (2007)

Night Town in Cleveland Heights, Ohio

30 January 2007

It was another enjoyable night of jazz at NightTown last Tuesday, as the Godfathers of Groove opened up a two night stand with a hot show on a cold and windy night. Featuring two of the legends of pop and jazz from the 60’s, along with a son of one of their contemporaries, who is an established artist in his own right.

The Godfathers of Groove are Reuben Wilson on Hammond B-3, Grant Green, Jr. on guitar and Bernard Purdie on drums. Purdie is perhaps the most recorded drummer in history, working with almost everyone in pop, soul, rhythm and blues, and jazz over the last forty years. His drumming can be heard on such landmark recordings as “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” by Aretha Franklin, “The Thrill is Gone” by B.B.King, and on the Steely Dan Aja album. He has over 4,000 recordings on his resume. Organist Wilson recorded several hit records in the sixties and seventies on labels like Blue Note and Groove Merchant. His recent solo CD’s are on the Savant label. The youngest member of Godfathers of the Groove, guitarist and vocalist Grant Green, Jr. is carrying on the legacy of his legendary father, jazz guitarist Grant Green. He has recently released a highly successful solo CD, and is in high demand as a session player in his hometown of New York. City.

The trio did a two set show, featuring almost all arrangements that allowed improvision and solos by all three performers. Asked the title of several of the tunes after the show, all three band members gave different titles to the same song. Amongst the highlights were a jazz up version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” their acid jazz arrangement of “Masters of Groove meet Dr. No” from their 2001 album of the same name, a medley of New Orleans tunes with a great second line beat by Purdie, and their encore of “Everyday I Got the Blues.”

Probably the biggest surprise of the evening were the vocals to several songs supplied by Grant Green. He supplemented his outstanding guitar work with equally strong vocals ala George Benson.

Again, it was another performance by an act almost perfectly suited to NightTown’s back room. Most of the audience arrived early, enjoyed dinner, sat through both sets, and left satisfied on all fronts.