Reviews / Gold Mine Magazine

By Mike Greenblatt

The Danny Green Trio provides “Altered Narratives” (OA2 Records) on their fourth CD. It’s a panoply of influences from blues, swing and European classical to Northeastern Brazil’s folkloric baiao music.  Bandleader/pianist/composer Green, who has a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies from San Diego State University, played nothing but Nirvana songs until he discovered ska at 14. At 19, he heard the Buena Vista Social Club for the first time and immersed himself in Cuban son music. This led to working in salsa bands.

These “Altered Narratives” come complete with a new love, blues, as demonstrated by the honestly-titled “I Used To Hate The Blues.” Bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm share the blues spotlight as well as adding immeasurably to totally entertaining tracks like “Serious Fun” and “Chatter From All Sides.”

Still, the obvious highlights here are the three tracks with a string quartet augmenting the trio. Here’s where Green has stretched into compositional sophistication as he wrote the parts for the heavenly strings. He claims he heard the two violin/viola/cello parts in his head before committing them to paper. The three tracks in question–“Second Chance,” “Katabasis” and “Porcupine Dreams” are what sets this particular trio outing apart from all others.

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