304

Jimmy Greene: The Overcomer's Suite

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Jimmy Greene: The Overcomer's Suite If you compose a suite kindled by a big idea, it's best to front a band with a big sound. That's what tenor/soprano saxophonist Jimmy Greene does on The Overcomer's Suite, his sixth title as a leader and his first for the digital-only Nu Jazz label. Recorded live at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, the session documents a quartet in excellent form, well-rehearsed but ready to improvise. Bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Kendrick Scott bring torrents of rhythm and a nuanced textural palette to the five full-band tracks. Pianist Xavier Davis, Greene's longtime colleague in the Tom Harrell Quintet and the New Jazz Composers Octet (NJCO), paints a broad harmonic picture and gets to the heart of Greene's expressive intent. The recording is punchy, loud in a good way, with crisp separation and dynamics. Every detail of Scott's animated percussion pops out and fills the sonic spectrum.

Greene's thematic focus on The Overcomer's Suite is just that: overcoming. What we get is a series of tributes to those who beat the odds. Greene leads off with the soaring "Anthem of Hope," honors his mother with "Nelba's Victory" and then arrives at the biblically-themed core of the suite with "Song for Isaiah," "Gethsemane" and "David Undaunted." Curtis' bass solo connecting the last two movements can be said to echo the Jimmy Garrison interlude on John Coltrane's A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964). Moreover, Greene's religious narrative brings to mind Xavier Davis' own "Faith Suite" from the NJCO's The Turning Gate (Motema, 2008). When Davis and Greene pare down to close the album as a duo, playing the Bud Powell ballad "I'll Keep Loving You" (in tribute to Greene's mentor Jackie McLean), their deep affinity is even clearer.

The stint with Harrell has certainly strengthened Greene's compositional ideas and robust, three-dimensional tone on the horn. Both get a thorough airing on The Overcomer's Suite. The melodies are strong, the rhythms compelling, the forms extended and involved, giving the quartet plenty of room not only to stretch, but to turn together on a dime, in what is one of the finer statements of 2008.


Track Listing: Anthem of Hope; Nelba's Victory; Song for Isaiah; Gethsemane; David Undaunted; I'll Keep Loving You.

Personnel: Luques Curtis: bass; Xavier Davis: piano; Jimmy Greene: soprano, tenor Sax; Kendrick Scott: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Nu Jazz Entertainment | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Dogs" CD/LP/Track Review Dogs
by Doug Collette
Published: February 28, 2016
Read "Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Blood
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "A Good Time Was Had By All" CD/LP/Track Review A Good Time Was Had By All
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Hear & Now" CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!