You may have caught some late night jazz at Small’s in New York’s Greenwich Village a few years ago and heard tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene. You wondered who is this guy? Maybe you picked up the Live At Birdland disc last year to check out the new talent. Again Greene was front and center. I first heard rumor of the wonderkin, then was thrilled by him on trumpeter Darren Barrett’s First One Up (J Curve). The pair reminded me of early Wynton and Branford Marsalis band, which of course reminds us of the classic hard bop bands of Miles, Blakey, and Lee Morgan. Also released late last year was the surprisingly fresh Horace Silver disc Jazz Has A Sense Of Humor (Verve) where both Silver and Greene thrilled old time fans of the pianist.
Greene, at the ripe age of 24 makes his debut as leader. His background and tutelage under Professor Jackie McLean since age 15 spawns more of that great Jackie Mac sound. In a solid first outing as leader, Greene surrounds himself with graduates of McLean’s bands Eric McPherson (drums) and Steve Davis (trombone) and his musical soulmate Darren Barrett (trumpet). The band opens with Chick Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty,” a burning bop classic, and besides two standards, all the compositions are Greene originals. For a debut, I cannot criticize his choice to follow a bop medium. After all, it was the most revolutionary movement in the short history of the genre. His concession to a “modern” sound was the limited inclusion of an electric Rhodes Synthesizer on “Arise!,” a throwback to the seventies sound of Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson. Greene handles a flute and Soprano saxophone with deft touch. I am anxious to follow this young and promising career.
Track List:Humpty Dumpty; Brand New World; Arise!; Renee; Mr. McLean; Never Let Me Go; Godsend; Dream, Little Boy Dream; Darn That Dream.