Monday, August 1, 2016

The Danny Green Trio: Altered Narratives

OA2 Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Altered Narratives

Pianist/composer Danny Green was born and brought up in San Diego, California. He took piano lessons until he was 12; from that point, influenced by rock, he became self-taught. He delved into Latin sounds and began to write in that idiom, then earned an undergraduate degree in piano performance at UC San Diego ... and went on to earn an M.D. from San Diego State University.

This is his fourth album. As with his prior releases, he utilizes a trio — bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm — as the primary format, supplementing with a string quartet on three of the 11 tracks: Antoine Silverman and Max Moston, violins; Chris Cardona, viola; and Anja Wood, cello. Green composed and arranged all of the charts.

The album menu is a combination of two genres. The trio’s mid- to up-tempo tunes are tied to the blues, while the string section appears on tracks that evoke 19th century European classical music. “Chatter from All Sides” and “The Merge” are 16-bar blues based, while “October Ballad” and “6 AM” are more balladic, the latter evoking a Latin-tinged mood. The tunes with the string section occupy the “middle” of the album, followed by additional bluesy pieces that conclude the session with a neat, groovy feel: “Benji’s Song,” “I Used to Hate the Blues,” “Friday at the Thursday Club” and “Serious Fun.”

These artists are clever; they know how to swing, and they work together impressively. (No fluffs or errors allowed!) Spending an evening with them would be a joy.

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