Glassman_span3
April 2007

Greg Glassman
Into the Wild
Etoile

Glassman’s live-wire trumpet playing hums and crackles with dramatic expression. He grabs a rhythm and works it over and over to an ensemble climax with his quartet. His phrases burn, sizzle and smolder. He extracts the essence from a ballad. His playing conveys fearlessness, hope and youthful vitality. This is an impressive album.

The quartet—Glassman, pianist Dave Pier, bassist Danton Boller and drummer Quincy Davis—is the focus. Guest tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard joins the group on Glassman’s complex, modal “The Moon’s Axis” and corkscrewy “Commit.” Guests Clark Terry (flugelhorn) and Marcus Belgrave (trumpet) appear on two others for some fine three-part brass harmony. (Glassman is a protégé of Terry.)

In addition to originals, Glassman and company perform three familiar tunes: Duke Ellington’s “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” Thelonious Monk’s “Introspection” and Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes.” A slow, dramatic version of the Ellington piece shows Glassman’s flair for melodic abstraction. On “Introspection” he is perky and swinging. On “Soul Eyes” he digs into a Miles bag now and then.

Drummer Davis is an exciting, busy, volatile accompanist behind Glassman. The two collaborate like mind readers to turn up the heat. The rhythm section can be splashy, loose and swinging as well as restrained and impressionistic.

With music degrees from Oberlin College and Queens College, Glassman is well prepared to express his imagination. Watch out for this young man. He means business.

Originally published in April 2007
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