Steve Greenlee

Steve’s Contributions


05/03/14    Albums

One Is the Other
Billy Hart Quartet

The Billy Hart Quartet gets more laidback with each release. One Is the Other is the group’s third effort (and second on ECM), and it is a demonstrably looser, freer affair than its predecessors. It’s as though the veteran drummer and his younger compadres—tenor...


04/18/14    Albums

Le Vent
Colin Vallon

The Colin Vallon Trio’s second ECM album picks up where the first, Rruga , left off, with its cool detachment, insistent grooves and post-postmodern sensibility. The Swiss pianist and his sidemen, bassist Patrice Moret and new drummer Julian Sartorius, deftly...


04/07/14    Albums

A Night In November
Kidd Jordan & Hamid Drake

This is unenjoyable—not just listening to A Night in November but savaging an album by two of improvised music’s all-time greats. Saxophonist Kidd Jordan and drummer Hamid Drake have made plenty of jaw-dropping recordings over their lengthy careers. They...


01/24/14    Albums

Selected Signs III-VIII
Various Artists

Some albums, especially many of those issued by the venerable German label ECM, unfold like movie soundtracks. The magnificent six-CD set Selected Signs III-VIII unfurls like an epic trilogy without the moving pictures. With gentle shifts in genre and a...


01/15/14    Albums

Wood Flute Songs: Anthology/Live 2006-2012
William Parker

What a wry name. These aren’t wood flute songs. Instead, this eight-CD live box is a magnificent document that captures one of jazz’s greatest, most prolific and most versatile bandleaders at the height of his powers, demonstrating a stunning range of creativity...


01/12/14    Albums

Maybe September
Ken Peplowski

Ken Peplowski’s rendition of “Caroline, No” might be the most beautiful piece of recorded music of the year. Playing tenor saxophone, Peplowski gives the Brian Wilson classic a tender, respectful treatment, patiently exploring its every nuance over eight...


01/05/14    Albums

City of Asylum
Eric Revis

What makes improvised music such a unique art is that each piece can be created only by those people, there, in that moment. City of Asylum , the splendid new record from bassist Eric Revis, pianist Kris Davis and drummer Andrew Cyrille, could have been...


11/13/13    Albums

The Line

You can’t categorize Kneebody, so don’t try. The leaderless quintet of keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, saxophonist Ben Wendel, electric bassist Kaveh Rastegar and drummer Nate Wood creates everything-is-welcome-here music that values...


10/31/13    Albums

Red Hot
Mostly Other People Do the Killing

If you thought the comic avant-garde free-jazz quartet Mostly Other People Do the Killing went off the deep end years ago, it just found a deeper spot. Last year’s bizarre album Slippery Rock found bassist Moppa Elliott’s group using smooth jazz to inform...


10/27/13    Albums

The Vigil
Chick Corea

Hey, Chick, 1973 called, and it wants its rejected prog-rock album cover art back. OK, maybe that was a bit harsh, but the cover for Chick Corea’s The Vigil is the easy winner for most ridiculous of 2013: Corea depicted as a knight astride a horse, eyes...


10/10/13    Albums

Heart of the Piano
Geoffrey Keezer

Pianist Geoffrey Keezer’s first solo album in 13 years is tasteful, classy and polite. It puts on full display his technical facility and his ingenuity in reimagining pop and rock songs. It also risks being too precious and at times borders on dullness...


09/10/13    Albums

Steve Swallow Quintet
Into the Woodwork

A quintet with electric guitar, electric bass and organ—this thing is going to cook with grease, right? Wrong. Bassist Steve Swallow had a more sophisticated sort of jazz in mind when he assembled tenor saxophonist Chris Cheek, guitarist Steve Cardenas...


09/08/13    Albums

La Notte
Ketil Bjornstad

La notte feels like a movie soundtrack, and that’s by design: The inspiration for Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjørnstad’s new album is Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1961 film of the same name, a depressing Italian drama about a marriage on the rocks. Bjørnstad’s...


09/01/13    Albums

Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20
Pat Metheny

John Zorn’s Book of Angels , 300 songs that constitute his second set of Masada pieces inspired by traditional Jewish music, has been interpreted by a diverse roster of artists including Marc Ribot, Uri Caine, Jamie Saft and Medeski Martin & Wood. Now, in...


08/15/13    Albums

Trio New York II
Ellery Eskelin

Laidback, low-key, unassuming—this is how tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin rolls: no small task for a sax-organ-drums trio either, for such combos have a tendency to be hard-grooving, show-offy affairs. But Eskelin’s is a different sort of organ group. The...


07/26/13    Albums

Life in the Sugar Candle Mines
Black Host

Anyone who still thinks free jazz is unpleasant random noises needs to hear Life in the Sugar Candle Mines , 78 minutes of loosely structured but highly conceived music by some of the best in the avant-garde game. The quintet Black Host is alto saxophonist...

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About Steve Greenlee