Steve Greenlee

Steve’s Contributions

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12/12/14    Albums

Red Hill
Wadada Leo Smith

Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith’s devotion to the avant-garde has remained steadfast over the decades, but his new effort, Red Hill , is even freer than much of what has preceded it. There are no rhythms, meters, melodies, chord progressions, basslines or structures...

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12/10/14    Albums

We're Back
Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio

They’re back? They didn’t go anywhere, thankfully. The Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio released its first album last fall, and as it began climbing the jazz charts, the drummer quickly reconvened bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny Barron for round two...

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12/10/14    Albums

The People in Your Neighborhood
Led Bib

Led Bib broadens its reach and deepens its complexity on The People in Your Neighbourhood , the rambunctious British quintet’s fifth proper studio album. The group—drummer Mark Holub, bassist Liran Donin, keyboard player Toby McLaren and dueling alto saxophonists...

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10/13/14    Albums

Offering; Live at Temple University
John Coltrane

John Coltrane’s Nov. 11, 1966, concert at Temple University is the stuff of legend, and not all of it good: The event was sparsely attended; the student group that organized it lost money; people walked out; the music was grating, atonal and irritating;...

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08/27/14    Albums

18th & Racine
The Fat Babies

If Wynton Marsalis stands accused of playing museum jazz, what to make then of the Fat Babies? The young Chicago septet is steeped in the music’s earliest moments, performing 1920s jazz not only faithfully but perfectly in every way—from the blowing and...

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07/30/14    Albums

Viper's Drag
Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein and the Hot 9

The latest resurrection of the Impulse! imprint begins on the perfect note, with the retro-modern jazz-blues joint Viper’s Drag , by co-leaders Henry Butler and Steven Bernstein and their band the Hot 9. “Retro” because they draw on the oldest corners of...

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05/25/14    Albums

Eight Track
Dave Stryker

“Wichita Lineman,” written in 1968 by Jimmy Webb and made famous that same year by Glen Campbell, has become a bona fide jazz standard in recent years, with gorgeous renditions by Cassandra Wilson, John Hollenbeck and Pete Robbins, to name a few. Now comes...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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11/13/13    Albums

The Line
Kneebody

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...

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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...

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About Steve Greenlee

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Steve Greenlee is an editor and jazz writer with The Boston Globe. He grew up listening to Smiths, the Cure and Depeche Mode but eventually found religion in "Kind of Blue" and "Bitches Brew." He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and three children, annoying them with obscure recordings by Sun Ra and Last Exit. He plays keys in The Barn Goats groove-jazz quartet and also runs really fast.