Saturday, April 16, 2011

GOING TO THE SOURCE

Pianist Benny Green’s natural habitat is the trio. If you want proof, listen to Green's new album "Source" on Jazz Legacy Productions. "Source" is a bona fide trio jazz album, and Green’s first trio date in ten years. Green handpicked ten of his favorite songs by jazz giants such as Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Mel Torme and Bud Powell. A big undertaking Green pulled off.

His sidemen are drummer Kenny Washington and bassist Peter Washington. Green has teamed up with them before. They’ve a brotherly bond. On “Cool Green,” Peter trots with the bass instead of walking it. Kenny is an uncomplicated drummer. He’s perfect for Green. They volley the notes to “Tempus Fugit” back and forth like tennis pros.

Technically, Green is perfect like pianist Oscar Peterson. Green is not a heavy-handed improviser. Again, if proof is necessary, go to “Blue Minor and “Opus De Funk”. Green is also a terrific balladeer. On “I Wait for You,” “Park Avenue Petite,” and “Born to Be Blue, his fingers melt all over the piano keys like heated chocolate. Instead of remaking the songs on “Source,” Green polishes them.
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