Narada Burton Greene – piano
Recorded live at Kerrytown House, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA on 17th October, 2010 by John Erskine and Jean-Yves Münch.
Edited by Jean-Yves Münch.
Photo by Peter Gannushkin / DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET. Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Design by Oskaras Anosovas.
Produced by Burton Greene and Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov
Tracklist: LP Side A 1. Freebop the 4th 2. Tree 3. Freebop the 1st Side B 1. Prevailence 2. Green Mansions Side C 1. Little Song 2. Elevation 3. Freebop the 6th Side D 1. Don’t Forget the Poet 2. Get Through It 3. Space is Still the Place
Tracklist CD: 1. Freebop the 4th 4’44” 2. Tree 7’43” 3. Freebop the 1st 5’42” 4. Prevailence 8’17” 5. Greene Mansions 12’14” 6. Little Song 5’28” 7. Elevation 6’27” 8. Freebop the 6th 6’06” 9. Don’t Forget the Poet 5’35” 10. Get Through It 9’01” 11. Space Is Still The Place 6’48”
Though modern, “avant-garde” jazz
is an ensemble music often based on collective improvisation, solo performance is its own extraordinarily fruitful sub-area of investigation for the creative improviser. Without a reactive, interpretive partner (or several), the solo recital blurs the lines between composition and improvisation as the performer enters a world of unfettered development. Greene has been performing and recording solo since the 1970s, and these settings have yielded some of the most powerful statements in his oeuvre. As diverse as Greene’s palette is, his music is entirely about being grounded – and at home. — Clifford Allen
Photo by Scott Friedlander
was born and spent his early years in Chicago, Illinois. He had seven years of classical music training with Isadore Buchalter of the Fine Arts Building. Burton studied jazz theory and harmony with Dick Marx, and continued his music education in the “School of the Streets” of the mid 1950’s from such luminaries as Billy Green and Ira Sullivan. He arrived in New York in 1962 and formed probably the first spontaneous composition group with bassist Alan Silva in ’63: The Free Form Improvisation Ensemble. He joined the Jazz Composers Guild in ’64 (organized by Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor) and formed his first recorded quartet in ’65 which included Marion Brown and Henry Grimes. He performed in New York in the 1960’s with such people as Sam Rivers, Rashied Ali, Albert Ayler, Patty Waters, Byard Lancaster, Gato Barbieri, etc. Burton was involved with the New Music Concert Series in Town Hall and YMHA organized by Max Pollikoff which included panel discussions with Morton Feldman and Earl Brown.
Burton moved to Europe in 1969–first to Paris and then to Amsterdam. Since that time he has toured and recorded extensively in both Western and Eastern Europe with occasional tours in America. Mr. Greene has recorded over 60 records and CD’s of his compositions in many and varied contexts. As an eclectic composer and performer, his works are involved with jazz, contemporary classics, electronics, and a great variety of folklore musics.
Burton has collaborated with many musicians; among them are John Tchicai, Johnny Dyani, Archie Shepp, Anthony Braxton, Willem Breuker, Han Bennink, Keshavan Maslak, Sunny Murray, Steve Tintweiss, Shelly Rusten, Frank Wright, Sean Bergin, Paul Stocker, Theo Loevendie, Maarten van Regteren Altena, Martin van Duynhoven, Clarence Becton, Perry Robinson, Roswell Rudd, Tjitze Vogel, Raoul van der Weide, Tom Jones, Tobias Delius, Michael Moore, Akki Hak, Lou Grassi, Wilber Morris, Roy Campbell, Mark Dresser, Adam Lane, Paul Smoker, Russ Nolan, Ed and George Schuller etc., etc.
A free jazz survivor of the first order
pianist Burton Greene continues to turn out high- class music in his seventies. Chicago-born in 1937, Greene was in NYC for the birth of the so-called New Thing with a membership in the Jazz Composers Guild and several ESP-Disks as proof. Part of the wave of players who expatriated to Europe after 1969 Greene became a pioneer in mixing jazz improvisation with new age, electronic and Klezmer music. Yet as this 11-track live date, recorded in Ann Arbor in 2010 demonstrates, he’s never lost his pianistic facility. It’s as perfectly balanced as any of his earlier solo projects. Running through a couple of familiar themes and a handful of on-the-spot creations, the pianist highlights influences he’s synthesized to create his more-than-mature style.
Supple, energetic and never ponderous even when outlining a ballad, Greene’s playing is compelling and even droll, especially when he lopes along the keys during the three “Freebop” variations. Greene is a tunes man and performs his compositions in digestible portions. Original in conception, his affinity for Thelonious Monk’s angular phrasing and economic style is obvious on tracks like “Little Song”. Yet his playing has deep roots as well. Often, as on “Freebop the 6th”, Monkish singularity gives way to kinetic sequences of high-frequency syncopation, introducing boogie woogie and stride inferences. With an unbeatable sense of pacing, Greene gradually works his key strokes upwards as if climbing a ladder rung by rung; once at the top he figuratively dives off, creating unexpected and animated theme variations as he lands
Greene’s set list is studded with surprises and juxtapositions. Take “Get Through It” and “Space Is Still The Place” which follow one another. The tunes are respectively a pseudo-Tin Pan Alley ditty with heavy accents, and a stop-time exercise in how long a note can be held. The first mutates into a minimalist sound picture with additional staccato plinking; the second, with its Sun Ra-saluting title, eventually reveals another jolly, jerky theme.
“Greene Mansions” is the definitive Greene performance though. Played in free time with intermittent pauses, the bravura narrative allows him to slap the keys with one hand while exposing subterranean tremolos with the other. He minutely scrutinizes each tone and note cluster; refers to the theme intermittently and ends with distinctive key clipping.
Live at Kerrytown House is notable recital by a musician who continues to improvise at the height of his powers a half century after his first recording. – Ken Waxman
CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)
Double LP version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)