Hayes Greenfield: Peace of Mind (2005)

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Hayes Greenfield: Peace of Mind
Saxophonist Hayes Greenfield's album Peace of Mind is a thoroughly enjoyable and palatable listen, a sonic equivalent of a painting with a wide array of colors all complementing each other. So it's a surprise that the music is mostly made by only a quartet.

Part of that lasting effect is due to the joyous second track, "The Pied Piper. It begins with Greenfield delivering a tuneful major-key vocal chant, with other vocalists chirping about. Greenfield takes the theme and runs with it on a sharp alto solo, by which time the Piper has collected a happy following and the chorus joins in the final playful chant.

Despite its title, "Homage to Pharoah also recalls Coltrane, especially the classic "My Favorite Things jam on a sunny two-chord vamp. Greenfield throws in bridge sections for tonal variety—again, complementing colors—and the piece serves up heel-tapping high energy throughout.

Greenfield proves himself a traditional composer and a good one, with attention to attractive melodies, harmony, and form. "Caravan of Dreams is a good example, combining modal sections of static harmony with gospel-like progressions and cadences and a melody of affirmation tinged with regret. He is convincing as a singer, too. On "That's All I Have to Do, his voice is smooth and smoky, with a slight edge of rasp, staying strong when the melody takes him to the top of his range.

Peace of Mind succeeds throughout, especially with the help of first-rate players like David Berkman (piano), Cameron Brown (bass), and Mark Johnson (drums). Greenfield comes across as an honest and unselfconscious musician, and it will be great to hear what he produces next.

Track Listing: Homage to Pharoah; The Pied Piper; Caravan of Dreams; My Eileen; Tea for Three; That's All I Have to Do; Girls & Pearls; Fast Feet; Peace of Mind; Blues for Now.

Personnel: Hayes Greenfield: alto, soprano, and sopranino saxophones and vocals; David Berkman: piano; Cameron Brown: bass; Mark Johnson: drums; Tricia Woods: piano (2); Tom Hubbard: bass (2); Joe Lee Wilson, Charene Dawn, Nina dAlessandro, Karen Haight, Greg Jones, Bryan Lurie, Janis Russell, Lonny Shockley, Steve Standard, Mike Weatherly, Adele Zane: vocals (2).

Record Label: Dots & Lines

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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