The Path Here, pianist Greg Burk's fifth release for the adventurous 482 Music label, finds the Rome-based American expatriate revisiting and reinterpreting some of the most engaging compositions of his youthful career, aided by old friends Jonathan Robinson (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums). Previously heard together with tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi on Burk's 2004 quartet release Carpe Momentum (Soul Note), Robinson and Cleaver's shared history as the pianist's preferred accompanists dates back almost two decades; Burk met Robinson in 1989 while studying at UMASS, and has performed regularly with Cleaver since 1992.The veteran trio's congenial interplay is palpable ...read more
Unduality, a duet between pianist Greg Burk and Dominican-born conguero Vicente Lebron, is quite simply the most innovative interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach's Invention #1" since conceived by the master. It could be one of the most striking re-imaginings of a previously composed piece, ever. In themselves, the Bach's Inventions are superlative creations demonstrating contrapuntal technique, while at the same time exploring a wide range of expressions using various styles in several keys and developing the motives in a brilliantly logical fashion. Bach's melodic variations consisted of augmented, diminished, inverted and retrograde exercises as well. Burk goes ...read more
A startlingly original improviser, rising pianist Greg Burk straddles a confluence of traditions, seamlessly balancing the spontaneity of free jazz with the discipline of mainstream conventions. A former Either/Orchestra member and student of Paul Bley, Yusef Lateef, George Russell and Archie Shepp, Burk possesses an uncanny gift for melody that surpasses many of his peers. On Many Worlds, Burk unveils an evocative array of pre-written tunes and collective compositions that exude a rich chiaroscuro, bolstering frenetic free improvisations with mellifluous themes.
For this quartet date, Burk--a former Boston resident currently living in Rome--is joined by a trio of ...read more
Pianist Greg Burk embraces deconstruction and counterpoint as a player and composer, so a playful method to the madness runs through his excellent new album Berlin Bright. The opener, Fancy Pants," exemplifies how Burk solos and writes with mild chaos in mind. After the theme the tune fractures schizophrenically, with Ignaz Dinne soaring melodically up front on alto while Burk plays a roiling counterpoint behind him. This startling, clever effect sounds like two open music sites on the Internet playing different kinds of music simultaneously; Burk drives the band by creating tension and complexity behind the soloists. On Ugly Butterfly" ...read more
It takes its time, this music. On first listen it comes on like the work merely of an accomplished piano trio that ticks all those boxes labeled with qualities such as technical accomplishment, urbanity, harmonic sophistication and the like. Further listening, however, reveals something a whole lot more worthwhile.
The spirit of Herbie Nichols stalks the ugly beauty of Hupid Stumid and that's a cause for celebration, resonating as it does in a historical sense with Burk's belief in music as a medium for growth and discovery. Thus, whilst Burk's composition in this instance hints at Nichols, his piano playing ...read more
Pianist Greg Burk found the perfect ambience in a study lounge of a Harvard University dormitory to record this album. He says that the environment was as close to his childhood living room as a studio could be. Burk also reveals that he was contemplating the direction the music would take while swimming in Walden Pond. More, the music here was like sharing a bottle of wine with old friends.
Burk's approach and feelings have a remarkably instinctive bearing on the record. The music traces a wide arc moving from the ebullience of Look to the ...read more
Time can be a funny thing. Recorded prior to his last trio disc, Nothing, Knowing (482 Music, 2005), Greg Burk's Ivy Trio shares more in common than just format. Ivy Trio provides alternate views of three Burk originals--"Look to the Neutrino, Blink to Be and Operetta --but with a trio featuring bassist Jonathan Robinson and drummer Luther Gray in place of Nothing, Knowing's higher-profile rhythm team of bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bob Moses. The tunes are well worth revisiting--or perhaps more appropriately in this case, foreshadowing.
That Robinson plays double-bass in contrast to Swallow's electric instrument would be enough ...read more