By Doug Hall
Acclaimed San Diego pianist and composer Danny Green and his trio, Justin Grinnell and Julien Cantelm performed a set supporting their CD release One Day It Will (2018), at the Lily Pad in Cambridge, Ma. Sat June 16th. The intimate setting of this small venue in the heart of a Cambridge neighborhood offered the perfect setting for the lyrically charged and the ethereal, absorbing, supple narrative of Green’s compositions. The audience was immediately drawn into the soft and subtle vibe of Green’s piano work against the channeled accompaniment by Justin Grinnell on Bass and Julien Cantelm on drums. They were all very much in tune with each other’s instincts and soloing moments flowed effortlessly, at will, from Green’s exchange with Grinnell and Cantelm. One Day It Will follows on the heels of a very well received 2016 release Altered Narratives. Though both recordings include the full chamber jazz melding of 2 violins, a viola and cello, and offer a wonderful richness of sounds with strings, the simple trio this evening affected a presence of their own that invited more attention to each of the 3 instruments led by Green’s melodic compositions.
The evening set featured the strongest selections from One Day It Will starting with the brisk swing of “Time Lapse To Fall,” matching the evening warmth and light that poured into the venue from the old Cambridge neighborhood street. There was an atmospheric mood to this piece that delivered, taking you on Green’s ride on the keyboard from a summer day to the change of autumn. The title cut “One Day It Will” followed with a haunting more foreboding feeling that’s heard most effectively on the CD recording with emotional melancholy violin-sway in accompaniment. But again, it is the quiet of the audience and setting that allows a pin drop to be heard as Green’s piano treatment flows lyrically throughout this piece. A happier more spiritual selection was accentuated by the soft melody of arrangement of “View from the Sky,” quite effectively eliciting the presence of soaring with a wonderfully engaging bass line from Justin Grinnell then back again to Green for melodic interludes—ahh -this might be what peace sounds like? Cutting away to an old blues standard, Green pronounced “we’re working much too hard up here—time to cut loose with some blues,” and sharing the chops, with the bass line laid down, each musician had an opportunity show-off with a blues-line spot solo. Closing the set was “Lemon Avenue,” a “going to church” waltz with a gospel feel, with a lovely musical sense of reflection and optimism in the bright dance of keys across Green’s piano. An exquisite evening finish to a bright new addition of original compositions by a very talented, original and introspective “storyteller” in lyrical sound “with a gift for spinning supple, absorbing narratives.”
As a trio Mr. Green has intensely bonded with band mates Justin Grinnell(bass) and Julien Cantelm(drums). In a recent interview Green reflected upon this sense of closeness, “One of the best aspects of playing together with Justin and Julien for so long is the friendship that we have developed…this plays a huge role in our sound as a trio.” He cites the individual musicianship of his bandmates as ultimately crucial as well, “Justin(Grinnell) is an extremely accomplished bassist with plenty of chops to spare—but always puts the music first.” In equal appreciation for the trio’s drummer, Julien Cantelm, Green exclaims, “Julien is an incredible musical drummer…so much finesse and facility on the drums—always seems to know exactly where I’m going with my solos.” Clearly, the evenings performance spoke to the fluidity and integration of kindred spirits making it all come together as a tight, balanced jazz trio for the evening’s performance in Cambridge.
Find an opportunity to catch the current tour and feel the intimacy and “storytelling” narrative and lyrical sound of the Danny Green Trio.
See review at All About Jazz