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Burton Greene: Live at Grasland

The veteran pianist Burton Greene’s Live at Grasland (Drimala) is easy to recommend as a smart and reasonably adventurous solo album that embraces tonality and modality without a hint of an ironic smile. Greene’s harmonic universe is sufficiently broad to encompass everything from Jarrett-like gospel melodies to Debussy-esque tall chords to Taylor-ish waves of atonality-sometimes within the confines of a single tune, as on “In the Footsteps of the Bratslav.” Greene has a nicely variable touch and a finely honed dynamic sense. He also has the not-too-common ability to meld the ordinary and the strange into a single exquisite entity. I hate to use the word “accessible”-it conjures up sepia-toned visions of guys in skin-tight polyester playing strap-on keyboards and shaking body parts better left unshook. If, however, you have a friend you’d like to gently nudge in the direction of free jazz, this CD might be just the thing.

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