New York Calling

Lee Greene

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New York Calling Review

by Dave Nathan

On his initial album as a leader, multi-sax player Lee Greene is joined by veteran jazzer Eddie Henderson and young lions like bass player Avishai Cohen for a mixed playlist of originals, traditional popular tunes, and jazz standards providing an engaging hour-plus of music. There's an effort to give a slightly different slant to the standard material by playing many of the tunes with a slight Latin beat. Randy Weston's "Hi Fly" has a Latin underpinning, as does "All or Nothing at All." Henderson's trumpet is featured on "Hi Fly" and Richie Vitale's on "All or Nothing at All." Greene shows that he can handle a ballad by his tenor rendering of "Skylark," backed by a tinkling John Di Martino piano, barely noticeable in its unobtrusiveness. Greene's obligation to Phil Woods is apparent on "Skylark. " Greene also has four of his own compositions on this session, all of them leaning toward post-bop, and all of them foot-tappers. The arrangements give all the participants plenty of opportunity to solo. One of the more engaging pieces is Greene's arraignment of Billy Strayhorn's "U.M.M.G," which Strayhorn wrote for his concert debut shortly before his death. There's an excellent cohesion of style and purpose among all the members in the group on this cut, especially Greene and Henderson, as well as sparkling solos by each. This maiden album portends a bright future for New York-based reedman, Lee Greene.

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