304

Jimmy Greene: The Overcomer's Suite

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: The Overcomer's Suite | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Nu Jazz Entertainment


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Alto Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Manhattan
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Blow + Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Blow + Beat
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "Red Nation "1"" CD/LP/Track Review Red Nation "1"
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Songs Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Of Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs" CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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