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Burton Greene ranks as one of the seasoned survivors in creative improvised music. Like a handful of his ESP peers he’s still at it after all these years, plugging away at his craft and creating chameleonic music along the way. A relatively recent development in winding artistic path is his fertile association with CIMP. Throptics, his earlier trio record for the label, suggested a solid start. This new offering picks up the baton running and further expands on its predecessor’s promise. Uniting with four-string savant Mark Dresser for a series of duets that are at times passionately piebald, in other instances coolly intellectual he seems at the top of his game in terms of technique and imaginative thrust.
Dresser coaxes a thrilling sound from his strings, fulsome and elastic with a sonic plasticity that fills the space around Greene’s often-gregarious block chords. With bow the results are similarly superior as his sky-arcing harmonics on “South Florida Summer Odyssey” amply substantiate. Switching to flurried pizzicato in the midst of the same piece he tugs out a torrent of stout-fingered plucks that match Greene for sheer rumbling resonance in sound-emancipating spaces of the recital hall. The volume and clarity of his creation are coupled with the vocalized evidence of his exertions. Both decry the frequent claims of CIMP’s tendency to tax strings through the toll of no appreciable studio mix.
Greene sounds great as well, foraging over the finely tuned ivories with a self-assurance and acuity ideally suited to the auspicious surroundings. Together the two invest the music with luxuriant swathes of emotion from quiet contemplation leavened with melancholy to vibrantly joyous frivolity. Strings bowed, strings plucked, strings hammered- whatever their method of manipulation these two improvisers serve up a stimulating program of impromptu music that deserves to be heard. The fact that Greene usually operates under the radar of most jazz fans has absolutely no bearing on the level of talent he’s able to muster when the situation is right. Such was certainly the case this day.
CIMP discs are available directly through North Country Distributors: http://www.cadencebuilding.com
Track Listing: Peace Beyond Conflict/ Digitalville/ South Florida Summer Odyssey/ One for Burton/ Give Blood, Give Love/ Gnat Dance/ Shuffle Boil/ Bass and Piano Strings Orch/ After-Gnat/ Peace Beyond Conflict.
Personnel: Burton Greene- piano; Mark Dresser- bass. Recorded: July 19, 2001, Rossie, NY.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.