Danny Green is a San Diego-based pianist whose love of Latin sounds has been an important part of his development. Some may be aware of the Past Due album by the Caballero-Verde Quintet, with Green of course being the “Verde” of the equasion. Now he’s about to get more caliente (yes, I’ll stop) with the release of his first album under his own name, With You In Mind (Alante Recordings).
The album shows that he will no doubt become one of the more important musicians and names in jazz, perhaps becoming this generation’s equivalent of Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Dave Brubeck for this guy not only plays with elegance, but knows how to edge the listener on with his spacing, allowing the arrangements to lure people in to hear not only him, but the musicians (including Dylan Savage on drums, Allan Phillips on percussion, Justin Grinnell on bass, and Tripp Sprague on sax) to get into the precision Green is establishing with each song. There are elements of “Para Chano” that sound like Ram-era Paul McCartney, and just when the song feels like it will end comfortably, Green plays a repetitive chord structure and lets Savage and percussion enhance the flavors of the stew brewing with the kind of drive that will make people dance and perhaps get extra randy. “Doctor Pasta”, “Panic Nap”, and “Lullaby For A Poet” manages to take things as far as they can without ever going overboard, it’s very polished and sustained and Green knows how to create his own style. That might sound silly, but I say this to suggest that sometimes a lot of musicians simply play and emulate. Green and the other musicians are obviously influenced by other great musicians but they’re trying to make an effort to make it feel like them, so that you’ll know this is the music of Danny Green. It is, and I hope he and the other musicians will continue to record and perform for years to come, as this is a continutation of the greatness that is jazz.
Danny Green is a pianist and composer from San Diego who makes an impressive debut with this first album blending Brazilian and Latin jazz elements with a taste of mainstream and classical nuances to forge one heck of a recording. Except for Danilo Perez’s “Suite For The Americas,” a tune containing strong Latin influences, Green contributes ten varied originals running the gamut in style from the Brazilian flavor of “Baio Pra Voce” and “Doctor Pasta,” to the beautiful mainstream title track and the classical finale “Lullaby for A Poet.”
He attributes his passion for Brazilian music to the time spent at California’s Brazil Camp and this passion is well played out here where Green lays down hot tones playing the piano, Fender Rhodes and the Melodica. Also performing on this album is Justin Grinnell (bass), Dylan Savage (drums), Tripp Sprague (soprano sax) and Allan Phillips on percussions.
The music starts off with three Brazilian colored tunes but none match the lively and bouncy meter of “Jellyfish” influenced by the music of Jovino Santos-Neto. The following piece “Gigi” is a showcase number for Green where he dominates the melody only to step aside for a tasteful solo from bassist Grinnell. Green performs on the Melodica on the samba-shaded “Panic Nap” and shares the spot light with saxophonist Sprague on the last Brazilian influenced piece on the album, “The Last Minute.”
While the majority of the music falls within the Brazilian/Latin camps, the best composition on the album has to be the title track written by Green as a dedication to his girlfriend, now fiancé. “With You In Mind” is a gorgeous soft love ballad where Green shines on the keys laying down excellent piano lines. The other tender mainstream jazz number on the disc is the cushy ballad piece “Off The Streets.”
With You In Mind is more than well worth the spin, it is indeed a brilliant musical statement from pianist Danny Green, one of the new young lions of jazz that I’m sure we will be hearing more of in the future. For the present however, you may want to give this new album a listen, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Review by Edward Blanco eJazzNews