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Pianist Benny Green’s covers of Blue Note not-so-well-known classics is a great relief from all this summer heat. Like a book you take to the beach, the drummerless band is light fare for summer listening. To honor Blue Note’s 60th anniversary, Green arranged tunes by Horace Silver, Elmo Hope, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Cal Massey, Dexter Gordon, and Lee Morgan. Benny Green made quite a splash when he entered the jazz scene with Betty Carter in the early 80’s. After a stint with Art Blakey, and except for his side gigs with bassist Ray Brown, it has pretty much been a stellar solo career. Taking direction from Oscar Peterson, Benny’s piano approach is swing and piano funk. His aggressive two-handed style is never heavy handed. Heard here with Christian McBride and Russell Malone, the trio pops through the tunes like a soccer team warming up, passing the lead back and forth only after showing off a few tricks. From Lee Morgan’s album The Sidewinder the band choose not the famous title tune but “Hocus-Pocus.” Keeping it to light swing, the trio dazzles without raising their voices. Like Parker’s Mood, Christian McBride’s Charlie Parker tribute with pianist Stephan Scott and trumpeter Roy Hargrove, this outing doesn’t break new ground, it just titillates and entertains wonderfully.
Track List:Virgo; Bellarosa; Summer Nights; Punjab; These Are Soulful Days; Ernie’s Tune; Hocus-Pocus; Come On Home.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.