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January/February 2003

Greg Burk Trio
Checking In
Soul Note

Greg Burk's Checking In (Soul Note) consists of 10 of the pianist's compositions and includes veteran drummer Bob Moses and bassist Jon Robinson. Burk's pianistic style is personal and generally does not display obvious influences, although the opener "Sun Up" is Tynerish and "Acorn Yellow" has an introductory bass line similar to Chick Corea's "Sea Journey." Burk's performances here show that he has a genuine melodic sense without reference to Tin Pan Alley and show tune melodic tendencies, and "6 Ways" and "Serena" are particularly lyrical and expressive.

Comments by Burk in the liner notes suggest that the compositions were not rehearsed prior to the recording session and that some of them were written during it. The results mostly benefit from this spontaneity-the musicians seem alert and interactively creative, listeners are kept on their toes and the vast majority of the music coheres and is fresh and worthwhile. However, very abrupt fadeouts on some tunes suggest that good results from this method are not always easy to maintain, and both "Tutto Nudo" and "Ascent to the Strawberry Patch" fail to rise above '60s free-jazz cliches. The rest of the recording is very worthwhile, however.

Originally published in January/February 2003
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