145

Burton Greene: Bloom in the Commune

By

Sign in to view read count
Burton Greene: Bloom in the Commune In one of the interviews that flesh out this new reissue, pianist Burton Greene states that while he doesn't often listen to a record once it's done, his first date for ESP sounds quite fresh. Bloom in the Commune (originally released simply as Quartet but now retitled via the first track of the original B side) comes from a time when the clichïs associated with free jazz had yet to put a stranglehold on creativity and wide-eyed experimentation is in evidence on every track.

Greene's compositions are terse, stark and aphoristic, in the manner if not the language of Ornette Coleman. In one sense, the compositions are a return to tradition, Greene having been involved in a freely improvising group several years earlier that also included Alan Silva (available as The Free Form Improvisation Ensemble on Cadence). Much of that group's exploratory spirit remains for this date, recorded in December of 1965. His pianism is bolstered by preparations that enhance the percussive qualities inherent in his approach, especially on the hair-raising "Cluster." Yet, on the spare and achingly beautiful "Ballade II," he demonstrates contrapuntal ingenuity and a charming affinity for the triad.

Greene's group proves ready and willing to follow every timbral and textural adventure, especially noteworthy contributions coming from bassist Henry Grimes and saxophonist Marion Brown. Grimes' sound is huge, deep and sharp, much as it is now. He unleashes pizzicato tornadoes and offers arco whispers with equal parts daring and precision; just check out his first solo on "Cluster," where he threatens to overload the recording equipment while stating, in no uncertain terms, the bold truths of the emergent new music. Brown works along similar lines while deftly avoiding the bebop-inflected Parker-isms still present in too many supposedly 'free' contexts. His exhortations are jagged, sinewy and sometimes bluesily bent, pushing rhythmic boundaries in post-Dolphy fashion with a smooth clear tone.

The interview segments are fascinating. The perennial question of ESP founder Bernard Stollman's payment practices is raised—let's hope the surviving musicians see something for this reissue—and Greene provides a few pithy anecdotes of the times and philosophies that spawned so many groundbreaking records. The reissue sounds marginally better than other versions, especially regarding stereo separation. As with so many of the early ESP albums, this is not one to be missed and its reissue is welcome.

Track Listing: His Early Band/His ESP First Recording (Interview With Burton Greene); Cluster Quartet; Ballade II; Bloom in the Commune; Taking it Out of the Ground; Recap of Session (Interview with Bernard Stollman); Recap of Session (Interview with Burton Greene); How He Got Involved with ESP (Interview with Burton Greene); The Music Scene (Interview with Burton Greene); Music Is Life (Interview with Burton Greene); The Mind Set of That Time (Interview with Burton Greene); Albert Ayler at Slug's Saloon (Interview with Burton Greene).

Personnel: Burton Greene: piano, piano harp, percussion; Marion Brown: alto saxophone; Henry Grimes: bass; Dave Grant: percussion (1, 3, 4); Frank Smith: tenor saxophone (4); Tom Price: percussion (2).

Title: Bloom in the Commune | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ESP Disk


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Unification" CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "Copenhagen Live 1964" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Hoping Against Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hoping Against Hope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.