by Edward Blanco
Danny Green delivers his second album as leader with A Thousand Ways Home mirroring the same design he employed for his impressive debut With You In Mind (Alante, 2008). With a strong affinity for Brazilian, classical and jazz music, the San Diego pianist touched upon each of the genres in his first recording and continues his love affair here by incorporating elements from all and, as he states, “blending them together in my own way.” A gifted composer, as well as a dynamic pianist with a flair, it certainly seems that “his way” works quite well, documented by each and every one of his thirteen creative compositions.
Joining Green on this adventure are returning band mates saxophonist Tripp Sprague and bassistJustin Grinnell, who, along with drummer Julien Canteim, form the core group. Among the other guests who grace the album are two renowned Brazilian artists, guitarist Chico Pinheiro and vocalist Claudia Villela, both appearing on the lovely “Quintal da Solidao.” The title track weaves subtle elements of both the Latin and classical styles into a decidedly modern piece of music. The Brazilian flavor begins to emerge on the brisk and beautiful “Unwind,” taking advantage of mandolinist Eva Scow’s gorgeous string work.
Green’s chops come to the fore on the classically tinged “Over Too Soon” and soft and delicate “Under Night’s Cover,” providing but a glimpse of his talents as a musician, having already established his mettle as a composer. Accompanied by some bluesy guitar work from Peter Sprague, Green performs a brief straight-ahead statement on the very accessible “Soggy Shoes.” “Flight of the Stumble Bee,” “Tranquil Days” and the upbeat lively “Back to Work,” where saxophonist Sprague is particularly pronounced on soprano, are all album highlights.
The two-part “Dusty Road” demonstrates Green’s love for both classical and Brazilian music: the former on the brief, solo “Dusty Road—Part I”; the latter on “Dusty Road—Part II,” with the assistance of guitaristDusty Brough, for whom it might be assumed the piece is titled. Ending as he began, Green closes the session on another high mark with dazzling displays of musicianship from both himself and Scow.
A rare combination of excellent originals and a truly virtuosic performance from pianist Green could serve to propel A Thousand Ways Home to the top of the jazz charts. Perhaps just as noteworthy, this recording may well help cement his reputation as one of the important up-and-comers on the scene today.
See review at AllAboutJazz.com