Bloom in the Commune

Burton Greene

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Bloom in the Commune Review

by Alex Henderson

Although some free jazz was released by major labels in the '60s (Ornette Coleman recorded for Atlantic, for example), most of the artists who contributed to free jazz during that decade recorded for small independent labels such as Impulse! and Delmark. Another indie that was willing to put out free jazz during the '60s was ESP, which documented Burton Greene on the vinyl LPs Burton Greene Quartet (a 1965 recording) and Concert Tour (a live recording released in 1966). In 2007, ESP reissued Burton Greene Quartet on CD as Bloom in the Commune and added a lot of interviews with Greene as bonus tracks. All four of the 1965 performances that appeared on the original Burton Greene Quartet LP -- the 12-minute "Cluster Quartet," the ten-minute "Ballade II," the eight-minute "Bloom in the Commune," and the 13-minute "Taking It Out of the Ground" -- were digitally remastered for this 63-minute CD, which finds pianist Greene joined by alto saxophonist Marion Brown, tenor saxophonist Frank Smith, bassist Henry Grimes, and percussionists Dave Grant and Tom Price. And those performances favor free jazz that isn't the least bit shy about being free -- performances that are chaotic, spirited, passionate, emotional, and totally uncompromising. The interview material, meanwhile, gives Greene a chance to reflect on not only his 1965 session for ESP, but also the '60s in general and how free jazz was characteristic of that decade's spirit of upheaval. Unfortunately, ESP doesn't list the exact recording date of the 1965 session, but even so, this is a CD that people who are seriously into '60s avant-garde jazz will want to hear.

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