Without saying anything to this effect, the quartet made the point that in a Scottish jazz scene where work is shrinking, this is the sort of band that should be out there touring. Even in a recession. Especially in a recession. This is depression-busting stuff. A couple of hours' exposure to John Burgess and chums' blues-drenched funky struttin' would lift even the heaviest of spirits.
Their repertoire and instrumentation – tenor sax, organ, guitar and drums – pays homage to soul jazz's 1960s-into-the-early-1970s heyday. But there's nothing nostalgic or dated about Grooveyard. The tunes, including Stanley Turrentine's bustling Mississippi City Strut and Boogaloo Joe Jones' smart, concise Hoochie Coo Chickie, are catchy and given drummer Tom Gordon's superbly springy, supple backbeat and the spontaneously inventive soloing of Burgess on tenor, guitarist Malcolm MacFarlane and their enthusiastically creative, last-minute deputy on keyboards, Pete Johnstone, they emerge as current.
MacFarlane epitomised this "in the now" quality. His solos fizzed with ideas that built brilliantly, with lines that called out in one register and responded urgently in another and on an extended reading of Grant Green's Ain't It Funky Now, reached down and beyond via the bottom E string's machine head. Burgess produced a real roughhouse torrent on the same tune and like his colleague was the master of measured pacing on Jimmy Heath's A Sound for Sore Ears.