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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kim Pensyl & Phil DeGreg: Melodious Monk

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At some point or another, it seems, every jazz musician takes up the challenge of interpreting Thelonious Monk. It must be an unbearable temptation to try to bring some perceived new angle to such a distinct set of compositions, especially when those compositions are so inextricably intertwined with Monk's odd playing style. As if responding to that ancient query about why someone would climb Mount Everest, with the inevitable “because it's there," trumpeter Kim Pensyl and his partner, pianist Phil DeGreg take their turn at climbing the mountain on Melodious Monk. The core of Melodious Monk is Pensyl ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Phil DeGreg: Cincinnati Jazz Heavyweight

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Cincinnati-based pianist Phil DeGreg has made his mark in the jazz world over the past three decades as a recording artist, composer, and pedagogue. An alumnus of the Woody Herman band, DeGreg boasts ten recordings as a leader, and has appeared alongside J.J. Johnson on the legendary trombonist's video Live in Concert (City Hall, 2007). Since 1991, he has been a Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati's esteemed College Conservatory of Music, and his 1994 text Jazz Keyboard Harmony (Jamey Aebersold Jazz) is a standard part of the jazz studies curriculum at many colleges and universities across ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil DeGreg: Whirl Away

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Pianist Phil DeGreg combines hot bop, the blues, and modal melodies on his second J Curve album. His modern mainstream approach to jazz emphasizes the lyrical side, while supplying lively rhythmic substance. DeGreg’s quintet moves from unison saxophone & guitar or unison piano & guitar to extended solo work, keeping each piece lively through syncopation and gentle surprises. Alternating the faster action with slower, piano trio ballads, DeGreg offers the best of both worlds.

In an interesting twist of fate, the title track for the pianist’s second J Curve album comes from an earlier time, when DeGreg was at the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil DeGreg: Whirl Away

Read "Whirl Away"

Pianist Phil DeGreg combines hot bop, the blues, and modal melodies on his second J Curve album. His modern mainstream approach to jazz emphasizes the lyrical side, while supplying lively rhythmic substance. DeGreg’s quintet moves from unison saxophone & guitar or unison piano & guitar to extended solo work, keeping each piece lively through syncopation and gentle surprises. Alternating the faster action with slower, piano trio ballads, DeGreg offers the best of both worlds.

In an interesting twist of fate, the title track for the pianist’s second J Curve album comes from an earlier time, when DeGreg was at the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil DeGreg: The Green Gate

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From the mainstream, pianist Phil DeGreg leads his trio and quartet through a varied program of material, both familiar and fresh. The pianist, whose experience includes work with Slide Hampton, Stanley Turrentine, Eddie Harris, and Woody Herman’s orchestra, is an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Real Audio clips from four of the album’s tracks may be found at http://www.jcurverecords.com/releases.html .

“Bouncin’ With Bud" opens the session and offers a good look at the pianist’s articulate right hand. What is broadly associated with Bill Evans, simply infers in this instance that the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil DeGreg: The Green Gate

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While I’ve always found it difficult (if not impossible) to identify pianists in a blindfold test (okay, I think I could name Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner and a few others), I do know enough to separate the sheep from the goats — in other words, I think I can tell who the players are, who swings and who doesn’t. Phil DeGreg is definitely a player, abundant evidence of which can be found on his enormously pleasurable J Seven debut, The Green Gate. In his liner notes, James Williams (another eminent pianist) cites Bill Evans as one of DeGreg’s primary influences, ...



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