Forever offers a choice of reasons for celebration. Its repertoire, mostly based on music inspired by the Protestant and so-called Evangelical versions of the Christian faith, is a somewhat unexplored vein that contains rich melodic and evocative deposits yet to be strip-mined. Although there certainly are examples of its interpretation throughout the history of jazz, much remains to be done with its musical potential. Greene's contribution in that regard is first-rate.
Perhaps the most obvious and reachable example would be the opener. Written in 1913 by George Bernard, "The Old Rugged Cross develops into a contemporary straight-ahead proposition featuring tight harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic group interactions whose freedoms and variations can be described as "change'n the pocket. Therein the listener immediately meets head on with solos from Greene on tenor sax, Xavier Davis on piano, and Jeff "Tain Watts on drums. Although bassist John Benitez's turn in the spotlight would have to wait until the cool-headed stroll of Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday and the contagious swing of "Power, one is immediately impressed by this quartet's muscle, flair, and sensibility.
Greene's facility with his instruments, both obvious and remarkable, is also a celebratory event. One can talk about the tenor sax glossolalia-like head exchange with Watts on "In Many Tongues ; the eminently sensitive, loving, and engaging anthemic soprano meditations of "He is Lord ; the title cut, featuring pianistic wonderment from Davis; the mid- to low-toned tonguing of "You Make Me Feel Brand New, as well as its higher reaches; or the classical tone and attack of "Power.
Further celebration stems from Greene's writing, overall musical concept, and leadership. He assails accessibility, rhythm, and melody with unfathomable harmonic strength, of which "NMG is quite an instance. Unafraid of the musical prowess of their companions, these musicians cull their respective individuality within statements that dare the power of superbly supported melody.
Old Rugged Cross; In Many Tongues; Come Sunday; Forever; NMG; You Make Me Feel
Brand New; Power; He Is Lord.