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Greg Burk Trio: Nothing, Knowing

It does Greg Burk no disservice to say his music descends from the line of white-guy progressive pianists that began with Bill Evans. It’s a distinguished bunch–Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, etc.–and while Burk doesn’t blaze any new formal or stylistic trails, on Nothing, Knowing he works compellingly within the general area staked out by his forebears. While Burk displays little of Jarrett’s gospel/blues feeling, he has a similar fondness for long, complex, run-on lines, and he possesses the requisite dynamic and rhythmic flexibility to make it work.

Burk couldn’t have picked a rhythm section better suited to his outlook. Working with Paul Bley and others, bassist Steve Swallow helped write the book on this sort of semifree, elastic modalism. Drummer Bob Moses is ideal as well. His ebbing and flowing polyrhythmic commentary on a rubato construct like Burk’s “Blink to Be” shadows the pianist, even as it suggests new directions. Technically, Burk is a complete pianist, and he’s intellectually curious enough to exploit the instrument’s total sound-making capacity. The 482 label is making a habit of recording promising lesser-knowns like Burk.

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