456

Greg Burk: Many Worlds

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
A startlingly original improviser, rising pianist Greg Burk straddles a confluence of traditions, seamlessly balancing the spontaneity of free jazz with the discipline of mainstream conventions. A former Either/Orchestra member and student of Paul Bley, Yusef Lateef, George Russell and Archie Shepp, Burk possesses an uncanny gift for melody that surpasses many of his peers. On Many Worlds, Burk unveils an evocative array of pre-written tunes and collective compositions that exude a rich chiaroscuro, bolstering frenetic free improvisations with mellifluous themes.

For this quartet date, Burk—a former Boston resident currently living in Rome—is joined by a trio of seasoned veterans. Fellow Bostonian and former Either/Orchestra multi-instrumentalist Henry Cook, Canadian bassist Ron Seguin (also of Rome) and French Canadian drummer Michel Lambert bring an empathetic ear to Burk's expansive, tuneful compositions. Cook alternates woodwinds throughout the session; his saxophone technique is impressive, and his fluid phrasing and breathy timbre on flute find great accord with Burk's tortuous lyricism. Seguin and Lambert ply fleet bop rhythms and atmospheric rubato accents with equal devotion; their affable interplay infuses the quartet's excursions with vim and vigor.

Divided in two parts, the first half of the record consists of tunes written by Burk, Lambert and Seguin, with the second half bearing the collectively composed title suite. Seguin's "Sonny Time" opens the date with a beatific invocation of bucolic vistas before Burk and Cook careen through the intervallic head melody of "BC" in unison, setting the stage for a quicksilver free-bop excursion. Skirting conventional tonality without abandoning form, the piece features a string of vivacious solos, introducing each member in turn. Easing into ruminative territory, the cinematically lush "Lost Time" shadows Lambert's ghostly "Storm Cloud" before "Look to the Lion" ends the record's first half with a lilting modal theme reminiscent of Pharoah Sanders' Impulse!-era work—a joyously ebullient tune underscored by minor dissonances.

The titular six-part suite encompasses a similar wealth of moods and tonal colors, undulating between scintillating opulence and roiling fury on the introductory "Many Worlds" and the cacophonous fanfare of "The Strong Force." Guided by Burk's labyrinthine cadences, the quartet settles into the episodic "Waves / Scattering Matrix," ebbing with oblique swing before modulating from pointillist introspection to pungent impressionism. Boasting a memorable melody and spare, sensitive rhythm section accompaniment, "In Pursuit of Matter" continues the thread, featuring some of Burk's most poignant variations. Cook's haunting, vocalized alto fuels the quiet, but severe "Particular," building to the cathartic John Coltrane-esque finale, "The Spirit Will Take You Out." Interweaving with Burk's cascading filigrees, Cook's scorching soprano soars above the rhythm section's tumultuous undercurrent, closing the date on a high note.

This variegated quartet session sets a new standard in Burk's budding discography, which was previously dominated by solo and trio excursions. Drifting gracefully between the composed and improvised, Many Worlds unveils a rich ebb and flow between freedom and form.


Track Listing: Sonny Time; BC; Lost Time; Storm Cloud; Look to the Lion; Many Worlds Suite: Many Worlds; The Strong Force; Waves / Scattering Matrix; In Pursuit of Matter; Particular; The Spirit Will Take You Out.

Personnel: Greg Burk: piano, small percussion; Henry Cook: alto and soprano saxophones, flute, alto flute, washint; Ron Seguin: contrabass, electric acoustic bass, percussion; Michel Lambert: drums, percussion.

Title: Many Worlds | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: 482 Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "The Eleventet - Please Call" CD/LP/Track Review The Eleventet - Please Call
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Hauptbahnhof" CD/LP/Track Review Hauptbahnhof
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "avantNOIR" CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 3, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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