The organ-jazz explosion of the 50s and 60s had its hot spots--like Philadelphia, Newark, and Chicago--but a number of cookin' little combos from Anywhere, USA, made national names for themselves too. Hank Marr did it out of Columbus, Ohio, making a string of rock-solid records for the Cincinnati-based King label that showcased his soulful, grooving, no-BS style on the Hammond B-3. His approach owes more to elder statesmen like Wild Bill Davis and Count Basie than modernists like Larry Young and Big John Patton, but it kicks like a mule on up-tempo tunes and gets low-down and gritty as a snake's navel on the blues. Marr scored various big jukebox hits while on King, including his best known, "Greasy Spoon," and influential DJ Alan Freed at one point adopted Marr's "All Night Long" as a theme song. As with so many other organ innovators, the acid-jazz movement has made new opportunities for Marr, and he's reemerged with a string of recent discs for the Double-Time label that compare very well with his vintage recordings. On the Hank Marr Quartette's great out-of-print LP Live at the Club 502, recorded in '64 at a Columbus nightspot, the leader shared the spotlight with guitarist Wilbert Longmire, whose slightly distorted sound and lithe phrasing are real taste treats for greasy-organ-juice lovers. Longmire, along with Chicago drummer Greg Rockingham, joins Marr for this gig, which celebrates the keyboardist's 72nd birthday. Saturday, 10 PM, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, Chicago; 312-409-0099 or 773-549-5549. Marr also gives a rare solo piano performance Saturday at 1 PM at Jazz Record Mart, 444 N. Wabash; 312-409-0099 or 312-222-1467. JOHN CORBETT
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.