194

Greg Burk Trio: The Path Here

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Greg Burk Trio: The Path Here The Path Here, pianist Greg Burk's fifth release for the adventurous 482 Music label, finds the Rome-based American expatriate revisiting and reinterpreting some of the most engaging compositions of his youthful career, aided by old friends Takayuki Kato (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums). Previously heard together with tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi on Burk's 2004 quartet release Carpe Momentum (Soul Note), Robinson and Cleaver's shared history as the pianist's preferred accompanists dates back almost two decades; Burk met Robinson in 1989 while studying at UMASS, and has performed regularly with Cleaver since 1992.

The veteran trio's congenial interplay is palpable from the first notes of the rousing opener "Song for IAIA," a buoyant swinger that subtly evokes the gospelized tunefulness of Keith Jarrett's 1970s material. Revealing a singular aesthetic sensibility, Burk's probing ruminations juxtapose rapturous virtuosity and lyrical restraint, creating a cohesive, harmonically sophisticated style that veers from the bristling polyphonic clusters of "BC" to the ambling euphony of "Serenity's Distant Dawn." At his most animated, he unleashes circuitous figures that dart over the rhythm section's brisk tempo, as on the boppish "Blues in O," and infuses contrapuntal work-outs like "Look to the Asteroid" with two-handed Bachian invention. At his most reflective he plies rubato ballads such as "Lost Time/Tonos" with melodious deportment and supple finesse, evoking lessons learned from his former teacher, Paul Bley. The latter tune demonstrates the emotional depth of Burk's artistry through pensive minor key motifs and stirring romantic flourishes, including cascading arpeggios that dance gingerly amid Robinson's forlorn arco drones and Cleaver's atmospheric cymbal washes.

Drawing on their years performing together, Robinson and Cleaver bring a virtually telepathic responsiveness to their studied rapport, whether careening through the punchy hard bop of "I Left My Gun in Detroit" or providing pointillist accents to the impressionistic tone poem "Forward Leaping." Even while sketching in the melodic contours of a folksy meditation like "Child's Dance" using only washint (wooden flute), thumb piano and percussion, the trio transcends the harmonic limitations of a primitive palette with nuanced three-way exchanges that resonate with exotic textural detail. Bolstered by Robinson and Cleaver's stalwart contributions, The Path Here charts a compelling course through Burk's most mature and resilient work, resounding with ebullient themes, elegant harmonies and elastic rhythms—making this one his most appealing recordings.

Track Listing: Song for IAIA; Look to the Asteroid; Winter Always Ending; Blues in O; Child's Dance; Lost Time/Tonos; BC; Forward Leaping; Serenity's Distant Dawn; Ropes; I Left My Gun in Detroit; Stars Shine Still.

Personnel: Greg Burk: piano; washint; Jonathan Robinson: bass, thumb piano; Gerald Cleaver: drums, percussion.

Title: The Path Here | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: 482 Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "The Promise Of Happiness" CD/LP/Track Review The Promise Of Happiness
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey" CD/LP/Track Review Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°" CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 2, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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