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Pianist Greg Burk's debut on the Italian Soul Note label, Checking In, might have been better suited with the title Checking Out, as in "I've been checking out different approaches to the jazz piano trio."
The disc displays the Berklee educator's multiple voices, beginning with his fundamentally stable sound. Joining Burk are drumming legend Bob Moses and bassist Jon Robinson. The trio opens with the McCoy Tyner inspired "Sun Up," with its two-handed rhythm run. Burk quickly switches gear to a sentimental "6 Ways" and then an outwardly abstract "Tutto Nudo." While Burk fusses with the piano insides, Moses rattles about at his drum kit. Not your cup of tea? The band goes on to the Latin jazz inspired "Acorn Yellow."
Burk has drawn much from his tutelage under Paul Bley, Danilo Perez, Yusef Lateef, and George Russell. From these diverse teachers, the now instructor broadcasts his influences in a wide area. All this change of direction works because Burk plays with an apparent love and passion for his craft. You cannot fake it on ballads like "Serena." His emotions are real. Bob Moses shares some authenticity too, working a mighty South African sound into "Moasis" as Burk plays rhapsody over his flurry. They finish the disc off with some dynamic bop, leaving you wanting more.
Track Listing: Sun Up; 6 Ways; Tutto Nudo; Acorn Yellow; Serena; Moasis; Tomorrow Is
Today; When Will You Know?; Sweet, My Honey Sweet; Ascent To The
Personnel: Greg Burk ? Piano; Jon Robinson ? Bass; Bob Moses ? Drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.