Reviews / DownBeat Magazine

By Kirk Silsbee

Emerging San Diego pianist Danny Green shows off his composing and improvising skills in this low-key but well-conceived collection of originals by the leader. The trio, with bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm, displays admirable cohesion.

As a pianist, Green has an affinity for the probing, personal statement. He’s comfortable with slow tempos and low dynamics, and an underpinning of classical music is unmistakable on “October Ballad” and elsewhere. The long, sturdy tones of Grinnell’s bass support “Ballad” with quiet strength, and Cantelm, a fluid and graceful drummer, is especially poignant on this autumnal tune.

Green shines brightest on “Chatter From All Sides,” “Merge” and “Serious Fun”—sprightly romps that are all akin to the dancing ebullience heard in fellow pianist Monty Alexander’s playing.

Green augments the trio with a string quartet on three titles (“Katabasis,” “Porcupine Dreams” and “Benji’s Song”). His writing is reserved and often stately, and the string arrangements expand on the trio’s work. The graceful, aquatic movements of the compositions exemplify the pianist’s masterful arranginging. It would be a pleasure to hear Green write for bigger formats, and one can only expect continued growth.

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