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Jimmy Greene: Forever

Tenorist/sopranoist Jimmy Greene dedicated Forever (Criss Cross) to “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…as an offering of praise,” and most of the compositions’ titles can be interpreted as in some way religious (“He Is Lord,” “In Many Tongues,” “Power,” “Come Sunday,” “Old Rugged Cross,” “Forever,” even the Stylistics’ hit “You Make Me Feel Brand New”). Still, an appreciation of this music does not require knowledge of the titles or of the performers’ intent; the performances can stand on their intrinsic merits. Greene is one of the better younger post-Coltrane saxophonists, possessing a formidable technique, an expressive tone and a fertile imagination. And his colleagues-pianist Xavier Davis, bassist John Benitez and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts-are known for top-quality work as well. Greene’s arrangements often rival the improvisations in interest. “Old Rugged Cross,” for example, reharmonized and speedier, features a constantly recurring bass figure, a unifying technique that appears on several tunes. Passionate improvising and appealing arrangements recommend this recording to the listener looking for fresh and honest straightahead jazz.

Originally Published