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Jazz Review : Sax Man Johnson At Donte's

February 10, 1986|LEONARD FEATHER

The joys of sax were again celebrated at Donte's on Friday when Plas Johnson arrived with the quartet he calls Grease Patrol.

This was an experimental version of the group: no bass, no piano, just two DX-7s, one played by Art Hillery and programmed to resemble an organ. The other, played by Steve Solomon, settled in a no-man's land between piano and guitar.

Johnson's robust, solidly swinging tenor was unaffected as he wove his way through a couple of blues, "What Now My Love" and "Time After Time" (the standard Jule Styne ballad, not Cyndi Lauper's novelty). The commandingly steady drumming of Jimmy Smith was a central plus factor.

Hillery soloed well and tried valiantly to supply the missing bass line; yet when you come right down to it--and you should--a bass is a bass is a bass. That, literally, is the bottom line.

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