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Live At Grasland

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Album Review

In the mid-'60s, Burton Greene was arguably the leading pianist on the New York free jazz scene, sideman to a long list of downtown luminaries and leader of his own group on two releases for ESP-Disk. Unlike the majority of his peers, however, Greene spent the following decades developing his questing spirit, opening his musical worldview — he became a leader in the klezmer-jazz fusion of the '80s and '90s, and otherwise kept up with new ideas that intrigued him. Therefore, on the live, in-the-studio solo recording Live at Grasland, the 67-year-old Greene plays with at least as much excitement and intelligence as he did 40 years before on a program of originals (save for a haunting rendition of "Angels," a tune by clarinetist Perry Robinson, a longtime musical partner of Greene's) that touch upon all of his influences. The centerpiece of the album, the two-part "South Florida Odyssey Suite," has echoes of Carla Bley's witty musical jokes, and the distinctively Eastern European "In the Footsteps of the Bratslav" shows the pianist-composer's folk influence. However, the more straightforward waltz-time "A Cozy Veggy Soup" recalls Dave Brubeck's similar time-signature experiments, showing that free expression doesn't always have to be "challenging," in the old sense.


Born: June 14, 1937 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Burton Greene figured prominently in New York's free jazz movement of the '60s, performing with such major figures as Marion Brown, Sam Rivers, Gato Barbieri, and Alan Silva. As a child, Greene studied classical music at the Fine Arts Academy in Chicago; from 1956-1958 he studied jazz with Dick Marx. Greene moved to New York in the early '60s, as the city's free jazz movement was gathering momentum. There, he formed the Free Form Improvisation Ensemble with Silva in 1963 -- reputedly one of the first...
Full Bio
Live At Grasland, Burton Greene
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Jazz
  • Released: May 04, 2004

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