Chris Greene Quartet – Music Appreciation (2014)

To say that Chicago based Chris Greene has chops is an understatement. Greene and is his quartet — consisting of drummer Steve Corley, acoustic bassist Marc Paine and pianist/keyboardist Damian Espinosa — prove on their recent release Music Appreciation that they have tremendous soul as well.

Recorded over a two-day period in July 2013 in Chicago and gamely produced by Joe Tortorici, Music Appreciation is a collection of fifteen tracks which paint a broad spectrum of jazz colors. The album’s live feel recalls that of a wonderful night in a Chicago club with a band that is seasoned yet inspired.

Greene’s tenor saxophone tone draws the listener in on the opening “Missing Part,” while drummer Corley toys with the listener by providing a nuanced jazz beat over different time signatures. On the track “Papuera” composed by Ed Motta, the band evokes elements of the song’s Brazilian heritage while dancing around the tricky time signature. Greene’s tenor soars above the playful support provided by Damian Espinosa’s Fender Rhodes piano and Marc Piane’s moving double bass. Mingus’ “Nostalgia In Time Square” struts with anew found intensity, being both coy and bold at the same time. The quartet gets to stretch out on fine solos and at 10:22 you still wish it would go on a little longer.

“Moose On The Loose,” an original composition of Greene’s, moves along with a purpose propelled by Greene’s taunt tenor sax, jaunty piano solos from Espinosa and sweet drum interludes from Corley. “Molar Melancholia” sounds like the title suggests, but is propelled by Greene’s soprano; it’s a lovely ode to Greene’s son.

Equally moving but from a position of sheer tenor power as opposed to sentiment is the cover of Wayne Shorter’s “Deluge.” Here, Greene whips out his big tenor tone while the rhythm section finesses’ the song forward. The song, as does the album, builds in intensity and power but never forsakes subtlety. Part of the reason is the elegant engineering of Rob Ruccia.

Music Appreciation reflects Chris Greene Quartet’s love of the genre and their desire to bring something new to the table to help it prosper.

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(feature photo credit: Ozzie Ramsay)

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Chicago. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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