Being an avid modern jazz enthusiast over the years, I’ve discovered moving beyond the borders of what jazz hasn’t always been a palpable task to achieve. Nevertheless, like many of you, I’m generally pleased with what’s defined as relevant voicings in today’s jazz on this unpredictable journey. To my surprise, I bumped into a familiar artist on Twitter recently who introduced me to his latest album titled “BOUNDARY ISSUES” featuring the creative mind, artistry, and vision of saxophonist/composer Chris Greene and his formidable Quartet.
At first glance, this vibrant template of 11 originals carves out an unwavering niche of what Chicagoan Chris Greene appears to be shooting for as composer and performer manage his decisive sound superbly. “BOUNDARY ISSUES” opens this festive collection with “PROLOGUE THE INNER CONVERSATION,” this interlude blends seamlessly into an original yet catchy tune called “HERE TO HELP.”
On the next piece “NICA’S DREAM,” Greene and company suddenly submerge the dynamics of musicality into an attractive odd-metered Reggae flavored gem which slowly bends their united voices as one. Arriving at the fourth spot the ensemble stretches their collective muscles underscored by a host of charismatic melodies and grooves on the cinematic reverie of “SUMMER SONG.”
At this juncture, one of the most appealing attributes about saxophonist Chris Greene, he’s remained consistent as an artist without being he’s polished or overproduced player. Perhaps I say this because his thoughtful approach compositionally is not overshadowed by his muscular yet cohesive timbre flows naturally as confirmation that he continues to develop as a notable musician. With the next track “THUNDERSNOW,” the Quartet roaring voices emerge impeccably as their prophetic talents reveal they are indeed equipped with staying power.
I love it when artist exhibit versatility in their body of work. In this case, these cats from Chi-Town deliver the goods with authority on the infectious blues swagger of “BLUES FOR DR. FEAR.” From the onset, one might think is a symbolic gesture or maybe even paying homage but this gem is uncompromisingly a staple composition that appears not only on each recording but live sets as well.
In the meantime, the next piece channels their energy with melodic lyricism cemented in the chasm of the tangible “DIENDA.” Once again, the guys from the Chi represents the heart and soul of the Windy City musically on the bluesy tip with the engaging romp appropriately titled “WILDCAT.”
The groove laced “THE CROSSOVER APPEAL” gives listeners another worthy view of what it means to hear musical comrades joining their shared passion for playing rock solid music. Greene continues the session with a duo selection featuring soprano saxophone coupled with pianist/keyboardist Damian Espinosa on the harmonically sensitive ballad aptly titled “DAY DREAM.”
“SPEAK NO EVIL” the closing Latin infected piece and bonus track is an ideal composition perfectly summarizes the perspective, energy, and musical ideology of the Chris Greene Quartet. In other words, this track showcases the ensemble’s greatest gifts and talents minted in the sound of one collective voice is demonstrated throughout the body of “BOUNDARY ISSUES.” If you haven’t heard this compelling group, please do your yourself (ears) a favor and listen to what the future of jazz beholds.
MEET THE QUARTET:
Chris Greene, tenor and soprano saxophones
Damian Espinosa, piano and keyboards
Marc Piane, double and electric basses
Steve Carley, drums and percussion
Jovia Armstrong, percussion on tracks 3&4
Julio Davis, vocals on track 5
Marqueal Jordan, tenor saxophone on track 9
Isaiah Sharley, electric guitar on tracks 3&6
Produced by Joe Tortorici for Jazz Masters and Chris Greene for Cee Gee Music
Listen to BOUNDARY ISSUES by visiting chrisgreenequartet.bandcamp.com
ALBUM REVIEWED by Rob Young for Private Music Xperiment