The George Coleman Organ Quintet The Jazz Standard New York, NY October 26, 2012
Nearing the end of a weeklong residency at New York's Jazz Standard, George Coleman and his Organ Quintet kicked off their sold-out first set on Friday night, October 26, with a New Orleans-like shuffle led by guitarist Russell Malone
's "Evil Ways," Coleman quietly joined in and took the lead. As the tune progressed, it gradually shifted into a samba mode, and the bandleader improvised, largely around the melody. It was a great opportunity for percussionist Daniel Sadownick
to demonstrate his dexterity with an Afro-Cuban feel, while Malone made the song his own with a few well-placed riffs between the beats.
Demonstrating that this was about improvised music, Coleman jumped into the third number without a count in, the band scrambling for a few seconds to find the key, but eventually coming together as the bandleader took the tune into a more straight-ahead groove. Coleman played a short solo and opened the space for Malone, who played mostly around chords, while organist Mike LeDonne
Coleman then picked up the microphone, thanked the audience, briefly introduced the band and went right into "Honky Tonk," a classic 12-bar blues played with a Mississippi feel. This was essentially a blues jam, and Malone once again took the lead, playing in the key of E (which reportedly guitarists love but horn players hate) and channeling B.B. King
-like licks. Coleman did a lot of soloing here, widely exploring his instruments possibilities to great results. LeDonne took a more conservative approach, playing a solo based on quieter, subtler notes.
The set closed with a "harder" bebop-like piece that was centered on the bandleader's notes-a most perfect way to end one a highly memorable evening.