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.