Jimmy Greene's The Overcomer's Suite marks the debut release of Nu Jazz Entertainment, a label focusing on issuing new music through downloads. The veteran saxophonist's sixth CD as a leader is his first for a U.S. label since his debut effort; this live recording was made at Firehouse 12 in Hartford, CN, its centerpiece being a four-part suite, bracketed by two additional originals. The opener, "Anthem of Hope," is intended as a tribute to Ornette Coleman, though this somewhat jagged post-bop composition proves far more accessible than much of Coleman's work. Greene's explosive solo set the stage to feature drummer Kendrick Scott and pianist Xavier Davis. The suite opens with "Nelba's Victory" (named for Greene's wife), a hip piece initially powered by Scott's polyrhythms, though it segues into a lush ballad segment featuring terrific interplay between Greene and Davis. The leader plays soprano in "Song for Isaiah" (which is named for his firstborn son), an adventurous piece that features some of his hottest improvising of the date. Returning to tenor for "Gethsemane," Greene's moving ballad was inspired by the story of Jesus Christ's prayer in the garden, also featuring an intricate solo by bassist Luques Curtis. The final movement, "David Undaunted," bursts with energy in Greene's soulful tenor. The live performance concludes with a delicate interpretation ofBud Powell's "I'll Keep Loving You," a powerful sax/piano duet that kicks off with an unaccompanied chorus by Greene. This excellent CD is available as a digital download at www.nujazzentertainment.com.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden