Chris Greene Quartet-Music Appreciation

Evanston-based saxophonist Chris Greene's upcoming CD, Music Appreciation, marks the latest chapter in Greene's musical journey as a bandleader. It is important to note that the Chris Greene Quartet is a band, and always has been. With the exception of relative newcomer Steve Corley on drums, Greene has led a stable unit since 2005. And although the realities of the professional jazz musician's life dictates that now and then the band will have a substitute player for a particular gig, the band has stuck together with palpable results. Corley came on in 2011 (but had been a regular sub before that) and he and acoustic bassist Marc Piane have the kind of "rhythm section telepathy" that is essential to any kind of music, but especially jazz. Pianist Damian Espinosa provides the interface between Greene's brawny, intelligent lines and the rhythm section's groove, playing both evocative Fender Rhodes textures and acoustic piano rooted in the straight-ahead jazz and Brazilian traditions.

Greene's Evanston heritage is relevant in that the suburb of Chicago has featured prominently in local and national jazz history; Junior Mance, Fred Anderson, Bob Cranshaw, Hamid Drake and Billy Brimfield, among other greats, have called Evanston home. It is a culturally diverse community, and it is also important to note that Evanston is a college town (Northwestern University); Greene's formative years were steeped in every style of music, from soul, R&B, hip-hop and funk to jam bands, rock, country, folk, reggae, the blues, Latin and, of course, jazz. Greene has not played jazz to the exclusion of other kinds of music; he has played in rock, country and funk bands, and this myriad of influences shows in both his playing, and in the band's musical personality.

Over the course of their astonishing ten album discography (five official CGQ releases, with an additional two recordings as "New Perspectives" and 3 CGQ discs given away as loyal fan rewards) there are nods to Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, Madonna, Miles Davis, Prince, the AACM and much more. On the new recording Greene synthesizes the influences of Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins, Fred Anderson, Illinois Jacquet, Gene Ammons, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Lester Young, Wayne Shorter, Maceo Parker and Pharaoh Sanders into a sound completely his own; a sound that is both powerful and questing.

Greene, Espinosa and Piane all contributed compositions to the project; the band also interprets songs by John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, Chicago keyboardist/bandleader William Kurk, Brazilian composer Ed Motta and Japanese pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra. Greene's encompassing vision and the band's organic cohesiveness unify this seemingly disparate collection of tunes into an entrancing journey for the listener. The sparkling sound, recorded by Bob Ruccia at Chicago's Uptown Recording, and the production, by Greene and veteran producer Joe Tortorici, enhance the music rather than overpowering it.

After years of paying dues on the Chicago jazz scene, Chris Greene and his band are poised to usher in a new classic era. Music Appreciation, the new Chris Greene Quartet CD, will be available March 4, 2014. CGQ will celebrate with a show at the legendary Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, on Saturday, March 8, at 8PM CST.

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