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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Artist Profiles

A Casual Stroll Down The Free Jazz / Avant Garde Avenue

By Published: October 23, 2003
So for the teeming multitudes who shy away from Jazz which sounds as if it is not being played within the usual restrictions of melody, rhythm and limited improvisation, Chris Greco provides a wonderful new avenue to try out all that remains to be tried out'the beauty of his music lies in the subtle manner in which he imparts a sort of balanced magnitude of improvisation to the theme in every piece, at no point he seems to desert the listener and indulge in his own private mumbling talk with the horn 'as the non-Free Jazz community of listeners is too painfully aware of. Moderation is the key, for him, whether it is the glorious marriage of the neo-classical touch with a fundamentally jazzy leit-motif, or the tightly-knit improvisation within a decently compact timeframe. The music has a sort of controlled wildness overriding a highly civilized core : and that balance surely is a rare accomplishment.

Another rather fetching peculiarity one cannot fail to notice in Greco's compositions, is his superb ability to paint soundscapes which to a sensitive ear and a creative mind, can conjure up scenes of utter exotic charm, a superhuman dancer in moonlight performing some celestial rituals on an abandoned island full of rainforest type natural beauty, an unreal bird on a soaring flight to infinity, a dark and brooding scenario with spookiest effects triggering some ticklish sensations in the aroused intellect' it's a veritable feast for the sprightly imagination of all those who can see feel and absorb with eyes closed.

Whilst on the subject of Free Jazz, through the champion ministrations of Chris Greco, a word about the Avant-Garde effects would not be out of place indeed. A few numbers, perhaps a few phases in particular numbers, do seem to lift the Free Jazz concept a little higher towards what appears to be the more adventurous avenues. The fact that he has managed to mix and balance such difficult idioms into easily palatable pieces, is also no mean achievement. In other words, he has not lost sight of the more traditional forms of Jazz, whilst painting his own inner emotions with musical colors 'perhaps that's why the music appears to be a cut above the usual cultist offerings which are meant for the chosen few. There can be no denying that those who have stuck on with the freedom concept in Jazz have simply erected invisible but impenetrable barriers around their music : and that's something the newbie would find both fearsome and mildly repulsive. Quite the opposite seems to be the overall effect of Greco's music.

To those who feel that I have specialized in writing about musicians who have passed away or were at their peak forty years ago, I dedicate this piece that deals with a young musician who can ride several Jazz idioms as comfortably as a circus performer would ride a cycle with one two or three wheels. Jazz lives, replicating itself in its kaleidoscopic variety all the time. Long live Jazz !

Till next month then, cheerio! Take care everyone, and write to me if you feel like. I always write back to every email I receive, personally and rather enjoy doing that.


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