TO BE RELEASED APRIL 12 ON JAZZ LEGACY PRODUCTIONS
FIRST TRIO ALBUM IN TEN YEARS FEATURES GREEN’S LONG-TIME PARTNERS, PETER WASHINGTON (BASS) & KENNY WASHINGTON (DRUMS)
The dynamic and exuberant pianist Benny Green pays tribute to the great pianists and composers he grew up listening to, in an energetic and swinging, 10-piece collection titled Source (Jazz Legacy Productions). Featuring Green’s trio-mates, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Kenny Washington, Source includes compositions by Bud Powell, Sonny Clark, Carl Perkins, Kenny Drew, Duke Pearson and Horace Silver. Remarkably, this is Green’s first recording as a leader since his duo date with Russell Malone, Bluebird, in 2004, and his first trio recording since 2000, Naturally, when his band comprised Malone and bassist Christian McBride.
Source was largely set into motion when Green and the two Washingtons were getting reacquainted with each other in 2009 while on tour in Japan as the rhythm section for Japanese guitarist Satoshi Inoue. While Green had performed with Peter and Kenny many times over the years (for example, Peter played on Green’s debut album, Prelude, on Criss Cross in 1988, and Kenny played on Green’s 1996 Blue Note release The Place to Be), the tour made for a reunion of sorts.
While in Japan, Green and the two Washingtons played some trio dates, which rekindled their brotherhood on the bandstand. Up until that point, Green hadn’t thought much about leading a trio again. But that soon changed.
Kenny convinced Green that he had to do something about their trio chemistry-recommending that he set into motion any opportunity to play again. When bassist John Lee launched his own label, Jazz Legacy Productions, in 2007, his goal was to sign singular artists who had been relegated to the recording sidelines by major record labels they had once been signed to. Green, a friend of Lee’s for many years, happened to be talking with his wife Pat on the phone one night about the band, and she recommended that he talk to John about it.
“I told Pat that, because of the nature of our friendship, I’d feel comfortable recording with John,” says Green. “She told me, ‘You need to tell him that!’ I did, he was enthusiastic about the trio and the next thing you know we were making a record for him in his home studio in South Orange, New Jersey.” Green adds that Source was the first album he recorded as a leader where the producer let him play the music he chose and gave him the freedom to stylistically play it the way he wanted.
While Green had been off the recording map for several years, he was hardly idle. He was highly active on the national and international scene, including serving as the musical director of the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Band in 2008 (the band included, among others, Terence Blanchard, James Moody and Nnenna Freelon) and this year’s “Aspects of Oscar: A Tribute to Oscar Peterson” concert at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto.
Source is a welcomed and inspired return for Green. The CD opens with Sonny Clark’s “Blue Minor,” which Green says is from one of his all-time favorite albums, Cool Struttin.’
“I love the attitude of this melody,” he says. “There’s sorrow but also a sense of affirmation. Peter and Kenny played their hearts out on this.”
“Way ‘Cross Town” was written by Southern California pianist Carl Perkins, and is followed a Donald Byrd number titled “Little T”. Green credits Byrd with being a bebop master in the second generation following Gillespie and Parker. He heard versions of this from such albums as Kenny Drew’s This Is New album for Riverside and Lee Morgan’s Indeed for Blue Note.
Other songs include Kenny Drew’s “Cool Green,” a speed-demon take on Bud Powell’s firey “Tempus Fugit,” a blues-steeped version of Duke Pearson’s “Chant” (“Duke’s hip tunes are the epitome of taste,” says Green), Mel Tormé’s “Born to Be Blue” (suggested by Kenny and that Green heard on records by Ike Quebec, Wynton Kelly and Tommy Flanagan) and Horace Silver’s “Opus de Funk,” which has been recorded by many people, including the composer in one of his early trios (with Percy Heath and Art Blakey) and Milt Jackson.
While swing dominates Source, Green also soulfully displays his prowess as a ballad player on three tunes. He and his trio play a gorgeous rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s “I Waited for You.”
“I listened to the original version of by Dizzy’s big band,” Green says. “I love the haunting intervals and harmonies that Dizzy was the consummate master of.”
Green and co. also deliver a moving interpretation of Benny Golson’s “Park Avenue Petite,” a song that Green’s father encouraged him to play.
“I borrowed the intro straight from Wynton Kelly,” says Green, “[he] played this on Blue Mitchell’s Blue Soul album.”
As for the big picture of Source, Green says that he’s hoping that he can be a touchstone for younger players as well: “The songs on this album come from the masters,” he says. “These songs were written and recorded by people who really cared about the music. They knew they were documenting something special, that it was going to be there for all time. We’re blessed to have all those recordings, and privileged to learn from them. In the same way, I want to be a good and honest source for young people to learn about jazz.”
“These musicians are my heroes, our heroes, who inspire us. They are the source.”
Benny Green – “Remembering Monk … and Shearing” at KPLU
BENNY GREEN TOUR DATES:
March 18 – 19 | Jazz At The Bistro| St. Louis, MO | w/ Christian
McBride and Greg Hutchinson
March 31 | Juilliard | New York, NY | Juilliard Jazz at 10: A Swingin’
Alumni Reunion Concert
April 29 – 30 | Ichiban Sushi Lounge | Spokane, WA | w/ Jeff Coffin,
Donny McCaslin with the UNC Jazz Band I
May 19 – 22 | Jazz Showcase | Chicago, IL | w/ Peter Washington and
May 27 | Lowden Theater for the Performing Arts | Las Vegas, NV |
July 11 – 16 | Eccles Center for the Performing Arts | Ephraim, UT |
Jazz Workshop: w/ Juilliard At Snow College
July 25 – 30 | Jazz Port Townsend | Port Townsend, WA | Workshop
August 16 – 21 | Blue Note Jazz Club | New York, NY | w/ Christian
McBride and Greg Hutchinton- A Ray Brown Tribute
September 18 | Monterey Fairgrounds | Monterey, CA | Trio With Special
Guest Donald Harrison: Monk’s Dream: Fifty Years Fresh
October 10 | Herbst Theatre | San Francisco, CA | Trio w/ Special
Guest Donald Harrison
October 21 | KC Jazz Club At The Kennedy Center | Washington, DC | w/
Special Guest Donald Harrison
Benny Green · Source
Jazz Legacy Productions · Release Date: April 12, 2011
For additional information on Jazz Legacy Productions,
please visit: jazzlegacyproductions.com
..:: SOURCE: DL MEDIA ::..