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Chris Greco: Pleiadian Call

AAJ Staff By

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Pleiadian Call successfully showcases the amazing versatility and the intellectual depth of multi-instrumentalist Chris Greco and his trio. He alternates masterfully between soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, flute and clarinet with true aplomb on this recording of mind-stimulating, original modern jazz. The first number, befittingly titled "The Open Door," is an interesting, improvisationally strong piece that begins with a sedate introduction, but soon enough lets its hair down, allowing an unbridled avalanche of improvisation to break through.

Greco takes up the tenor sax on the title number. It is a spookily conceived, dark and brooding scenario where the tenor often seems to be pleading to the stars as it were 'with Kendall Kay on drums displaying his own virtuosity, conjuring up a Frankensteinesque background. The third piece, "Yvette," has Greco blowing his heart out on the flute, warmly incorporating a sense of restlessness, a touch of nostalgic yearning and a whole host of other personally inward feelings that defy language and the spoken word. His flute takes up where words fail, doing proper justice to the complex needs of expression. Somehow the piece is reminiscent of a moonlit night in some uninhabited island with the dark trees swaying to an unheard music, playful clouds playing hide and seek with the moon the damsel up in the sky' beautiful, to say the least.

"Rains And Prayers" finds the soloist back to his tenor sax, now in almost a prayerful mood as if sitting alone in the woods and trying to sculpt a full-fledged church around himself with brick by brick with each carefully produced sound byte. This is not a mean achievement, and he gets away with his brash attempt, too! The trio indulges in some frenetic give and take here with Chris Colangelo on bass filling the blank spaces—and there hardly are any—while Kendall Kay lends new hues and nuances to the whole assemblage of seductive sounds. Greco sneaks in with the tenor and signs off in a stylistic whirl of sound. "Innocence," the next piece, is not for the faint of heart—it is chock full of intellectual improvisation that borders on the outermost in terms of rhythm, tempo, and lyrical quality. Greco almost talks to his audience through the alto sax. "The Flight Of A Bird Leaves No Trace" is also an intriguing but engaging improvisational number on the flute with a slightly somber tone and depth.

The up-tempo "Ask" finds Greco back on alto, weaving complexities with the ease and fluidity of an accomplished storyteller. His articulate and inspired performance leaves no doubt about his musicianship. Chris Colengelo provides an interesting bass solo. "Messages" is played engagingly by Greco on tenor sax, and the closer, "Afterthought," sees him on the tenor sax again. This is perhaps the most melodic piece on the whole album. There is some beautiful soul-searching melodic expression here, with tight accompaniment from both his bandmates.

On the whole this is a brilliant album, with special appeal for those amongst us who have never been comfortable with free jazz or avant-garde. Pleiadian Call has that proselytizing power and the conviction to get even the most cynical listener hooked to a seemingly difficult style, a grey area in jazz. A wonderful job.

Website: www.ejn.it/greco


Track Listing: The Open Door, Pleiadian Call, Yvette, Rains and Prayers, Innocence, The Flight of a Bird Leaves No Trace, Ask, Messages, Afterthought

Personnel: Chris Greco, reeds; Chris Colangelo, contrabass; Kendall Kay, drums and percussion

Title: Pleiadian Call | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: gwsfourwinds records

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