In October, 2011, Chicago saxophonist Chris Greene's quartet stepped up to the stageThe Mayne Stage, to be exact, the entertainment and dining venue located in Chicago's Rogers Parkto perform a live set of sizzling post-bop ultimately captured for its first in-concert CD, A Group Effort. With an introduction from pianist/musical director William Kurk, the show kicks off with the high-energy original "Bride of Mr. Congeniality," moved along by the dash of funk which Greene also employs elsewhere in the set. Drummer Steve Corley claims a good portion of this tune, with an extended solo.
Pianist Damian Espinosa contributes "Shore Up" and "Three & Six," both charts providing Greene plenty of solo space, considering lengths which range from ten to thirteen minutes; enough for all players to indulge. Bassist Marc Piane's a capella intro to his own "Three & Six" is long enough to warrant its own track, despite not being listed on the CD as a separate piece.
Greene switches to soprano on the percussive "Future Emperor of Evanston"; accompanied by Espinosa on keyboards to ample applause from the crowd, this turns out to be one of the highlights of the set. The saxophonist sticks with soprano on Piane's "Stat," the longest number of the evening, while the disc closes with a rendition of trumpeter Kenny Dorham's oft-recorded "Blue Bossa," though the first couple minutes disguise its familiar melody before Greene and group dig into a blistering interpretation, complete with a little tenor madness from the saxophonist, and a lengthy drum solo as the tune's centerpiece.
There are no sweet ballads or perfumed waltzes in the set; instead, the music takes off with a splash of funk, a good portion of hard bop and a lot of intensity. Greene and his very able quartet come together for one exotic session in A Group Effort, culminating in one exceptional live recording.
Introduction by William Kurk; Bride of Mr. Congeniality; Shore Up; Future Emperor of Evanston; Stat; Three & Six; Blue Bossa.
Chris Greene: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Damian Espinosa: piano, keyboards; Marc Piane: double bass; Steve Corley: drums, percussion.
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