By Dan McClenaghan
Charlie Parker, alto saxophonist/bebop pioneer, got the ball rolling on the adding of strings to jazz. This went down in the late 1947 through 1950, on a pair of releases on Mercury Records introducing the sound of the Yardbird backed by a symphony orchestra. These sets were later compiled by Verve Records and issued in 1995 as Charlie Parker with Strings. That offering is a masterpiece of the genre it spawned: Chet Baker with Strings, (Columbia Records, 1954); Clifford Brown with Strings, (EmArcy Records, 1955); Paul Desmond‘s Desmond Blue, (RCA Victor, 1962). All of these discs featured jazz standards and Great American Songbook tunes played by the individual soloists on those sets, backed by symphony orchestras.
Now pianist Danny Green adds his contribution to the “with strings” mode.
Green has emerged as one today’s of he top jazz pianists with his two excellent OA2 Records releases, After The Calm (2014) and Altered Narratives, (2016). Both of these are trio affairs, featuring bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm. There are trios out there who are as in sync, as vibrantly interactive and consistently and collectively inspired as this group—but you can count them on two hands. And almost all them are, as is the Danny Green Trio, long-standing groups, seasoned in the art of trio interaction.
With Altered Narratives Green introduced a string quartet on three tunes to flesh out his compositional ideas. Those three tunes were the appetizer. With One Day It Will he serves up the full banquet. It is a sumptuous one, brimming with unabashed grace, elegance and forthright beauty that leans heavily on the pianist’s classical training.
Unike the previously-mentioned “with strings” outings featuring covers of familiar tunes, Green offers up a set of is own engaging compositions. The focus of vision of the project is remarkable. “Time Lapse To Fall,” the opener, has a scintillating energy moving through the backdrop sweet, diaphanous string washes. “As The Parrot Flies” continues in this mode, hinting at an interconnectedness of a suite-like listening experience. As the strings drop out, the trio moves into an interlude of on-edge extrapolation, with pianist Green dishing up one surprise after another. The title tune introduces a more majestic, perhaps melancholic mood to the proceedings. “View From The Sky” takes that gorgeous majesty to yet another level of excellence.
Danny Green and his trio have moved themselves into highest level of musical expression, a place where it now seems, with the release of One Day It Will, that the sky may be limit for them.
See review at All About Jazz