Danny Green – Quotes & Reviews

Danny Green – A Thousand Ways Home

Pianist Danny Green leads a trio with Justin Grinnell/b and Julien Cantelm/dr that explores the sounds, rhythms and grooves of Brazilian music. He’s got a confident yet not cocky sound of his own; on most of the pieces saxist Tripp Sprague joins in, most effectively on the dramatically thoughtful “Tranquil Days” and the fanciful “Nighttime Disturbances.” There are a handful of  tracks that include some bouncing mandolin magic by Eva Scow which livens up “Unwind” and “Dusty Road” and Chico Pinheiro’s guitar melds with Claudia Villela’s voice to make “Quintal da Solidao” a buoyant delight. Lots of energy is exuded in this celebratory collection. Fun to take in! Reviewed by, George Harris, jazzweekly.com. (January 3, 2013)
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 bassist Justin Grinnell, who, along with drummer Julien Cantelm, 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 guitarist Dusty 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. Reviewed by, Edward Blanco, allaboutjazz.com. (November 21, 2012)

Track Listing: A Thousand Ways Home; Unwind; Under Night’s Cover; Quintal ds Solidao; Nighttime Disturbance; Over Too Soon; Soggy Shoes; Flight of the Stumble Bee; Tranquil Days; Back to Work; Dusty Road – Part I; Dusty Road – Part II; Running Out of Time.
Personnel: Danny Green: piano; Justin Grinnell: bass; Julien Cantelm: drums; Tipp Sprague: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Eva Scow: mandolin (2, 6, 12, 13); Chico Pinheiro: guitar (4); Peter Sprague: guitar (7); Dusty Brough: guitar (12); Claudia Villela: vocals (4).
If you’re unfamiliar with Danny Green, you’re in for a huge treat. On A Thousand Ways Home (Tapestry), the pianist composed and arranged all of the album’s tracks,  and the results are sensational. For example, on the bossa “Unwind,” his piano’s notes are mirrored by Eva Scow on mandolin. On “Quintal da Solidão,” Claudia Villela joins with a Portuguese vocal. “On Back to Work,” another bossa, Tripp Sprague is featured on soprano saxophone. A love letter to Brazilian music written with jazz ink. Reviewed by Marc Myers, jazzwaxx.com. (November 3, 2012)
Based in San Diego, jazz pianist-composer Danny Green comfortably embraces Latin and classical touches, drawing them effortlessly into his jazz work. On his second album, A Thousand Ways Home (Tapestry 70018-2), he presents music that is melodically engaging, sprightly, and filled with invention. He is joined here by saxophonist Tripp Sprague, bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm, as well as guests mandolinist Eva Scow, guitarists Peter Sprague, Chico Pinehiro and Dusty Brough, and singer Claudia Villela. On several tracks, Danny displays his particular affection for the music of Brazil, notably on “Quintal Da Solidão.” Throughout this very pleasing set, it is plain to hear that Danny is a virtuoso pianist, yet he keeps this aspect of his talent tightly wrapped, thus providing strong undercurrents that add immeasurably to the experience of hearing him play. Reviewed by, Bruce, JazzMostly.com. (October 25, 2012)
When jazz pianist Danny Green released his 2009 debut album With You in Mind, he effectively demonstrated his unique blend of jazz, classical, and Brazilian sounds. The structure common to classical music dominated many of its tracks — his cover of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” thus made perfect sense — but the improvisational nature of jazz still fit into this framework. His sophomore effort, A Thousand Ways Home, finds Green in a looser mood; in other words, he relies less on a structured framework and focuses more on spontaneity, engaging in spirited musical repartee with bandmates. The San Diego-based musician has thoroughly immersed himself in Brazilian jazz, and that shines through in cuts such as “Unwind,” a jaunty composition that benefits from a memorable piano riff as well as the perfect synchronization of Green’s piano and Eva Scow’s intricate mandolin finger picking. “Quintal da Solidão” features Green’s deft playing along with a playfully sensual vocal by Claudia Villela, very reminiscent of fellow jazz singer Kevyn Lettau. This may not be surprising considering that frequent Lettau collaborator Peter Sprague and his brother, Tripp, also make appearances on the album playing guitar and saxophone respectively. In addition to his Brazilian jazz interests, Green also has the ability to perform modern jazz with an urban feel, the best example being “Nighttime Disturbances.” Green effortlessly changes tempos, his fingers flowing over the keys, with Tripp Sprague turning in a complicated sax solo. Bassist Justin Grinnell deserves credit here for his entertaining interplay with Green’s piano, establishing an uptempo groove for the rest of the group to follow. “Soggy Shoes” also fits in with this modern feel, with Peter Sprague’s guitar lending a little funk to the track. Green’s classical influences shine through most in the ballad “Over Too Soon,” the beginning of which faintly echoes chamber music. Julien Cantelm uses the lightest of brushes to set the slow tempo, with Scow’s mandolin adding a Spanish flair to a lovely, airy tune. “Dusty Road, Part 1” sounds like an extra track from his debut album, as Green’s solo piano recalls the structured feel of his freshman effort. But as “Dusty Road, Part 2” immediately follows, he breaks into a joyful Latin rhythm. He and Scow trade lines, demonstrating their virtuosity and precise—yet soulful—performing style. The final track, “Running Out of Time,” speeds up the tempo, mimicking the sense of being rushed. Green executes a tight series of low notes, setting the pace for the rest of the band. As Scow, Grinnell, and Cantelm take solos, Green plays subtle yet effective fills in the background, adding weight to the sound without detracting from other musicians. Like Brubeck, Green has successfully combined jazz and classical styles to form a distinctive sound. But he adds a twist with his love for Latin music, and on A Thousand Ways Home he expands his horizons by incorporating other world music influences. In addition to Green, Scow and her mandolin are the MVPs of this album. In an interview promoting his new album, Green explained that he and his backing musicians “had a wonderful time in the recording studio and I hope that joy translates in the music.” Judging from the ebullient sound and less structured feel of A Thousand Ways Home, he has largely accomplished that goal. Reviewed by, Kit O’Toole, SomethingElseReviews.com. (October 23, 2012)
Occasionally when a new artist appears, they come armed with vivid yet unstrained recipe of melodies, creativity and impressive harmonics accompanied by a stellar cast of possibly unfamiliar musicians to expand their imaginative voice. Most recently San Diego native pianist, composer and educator Danny Green was brought to my attention. With his sophomore recordings titled A Thousand Ways Home, he effortlessly pens an appetizing hodgepodge of thirteen thought-provoking originals on Tapestry records. The title piece “A Thousand Ways Home,” opens the session with an engaging bounce, symmetry and flawless rhythms wrapped with an infectious samba evolving from within. Meanwhile the ensemble maintains their flawless dexterity by exchanging unswerving solos on a spunky tune appropriately titled “Unwind.” In my opinion a variety of tempos deepens the fabric of the musical palette, this is very important to me as a listener. Green does so brilliantly by expanding his turf with the next two songs beginning with the posh tones underscored on “Under Night’s Cover” and a vocal piece featuring vocalist Claudia Villela titled “Quintal da Solidao” validates the reason I love this music so much. As each song spirals forward Mr. Green’s personality beams with winsome appeal and unexpected surprises. Therefore, he challenges your listening space artistically and successfully with songs like “Flight of the Stumble Bee” and the communicative nuances of my favorite “Tranquil Days” amiably extends this superb, tantalizing yet definitive collection of music unveiled by the visionary Danny Green. The last selection “Running Out of Time” is colored with tasteful animated twists, shades and feverish melodies which reflects the beauty of this remarkable outing by the gifted Danny Green and friends. With each new recording my initial hope is something out of the ordinary and unique musically transforms by focusing their ideas and thought process through the lens of original compositions. Furthermore, this canvas assembled by Green isn’t totally unique nonetheless as I hear it his overall template offers viable context and emerges with relevant music expressed with original, forward thinking and uplifting ambience of sounds that most listeners will thoroughly enjoy and embrace with enthusiasm. Reviewed by, Rob Young, theurbanflux.com. (October 21, 2012)
A gem! San Diego based pianist Green is a new name to me even though his debut album With You in Mind won the San Diego Music Awards for Best Jazz Album. I haven’t heard that album but if it’s half as good as this one it must have walked off with the prize 64 bars ahead of the rest! Green is a swingy pianist with strong evidence of his classical background seeping through – at times I could detect a whiff of Jacques Loussier. Nothing wrong with that except Green doesn’t rely on JSB for his material – he writes his own. Yes originals – often the bane of my life – but these are good catchy, easy to pick up on themes. Track 10 – “Back To Work” could, with practice, become a repertoire item for any band. Sprague plays the theme on soprano over a Bossa rhythm before taking off on a solo that is verging on perfection – you know what I mean you get the feeling that not one note could be changed. Green’s piano solo takes it along at the same high level before going – back to work! Brazilian vocalist Villela sings “Quintal da Solidao” with that puckish delivery inherent in so many Brazilian singers. The song could have been written by Jobim but I defy anyone to sing it better than Villela. The guitarists all have their moments in the sun but the surprise package is Eva Scow. I’ve never thought highly of mandolins in a jazz setting but Eva knows her way around the instrument and on her four tracks she demonstrates that, in the right hands, the mandolin has a place in jazz. Love this one but…like just about every CD you get these days – dark text on a slightly darker background makes the notes impossible to read. Still the music makes up for it! Reviewed by, Lance Liddle, lance-bebopspokenhere.blogspot.com. (October 14, 2012)
Danny Green‘s latest project, A Thousand Ways Home (Tapestry) combines his love of jazz, classical, and Brazilian music to unite them and show that while assumptions make them sound distant, they can be much closer than you realize. His piano work is what solidifies everything, along with his compositions and arrangements, so when things sound a bit too intense at first, he and his musicians lighten up, only to return to that confrontation at a later time. The core of Green’s group is drummer Julien Cantelm and bassist Justin Grinnell, but within these songs you’ll also hear saxophonist Tripp Sprague displaying his skills and gentle coloring to these tracks, mandolin player Eva Scow doing serious damage to these tracks (check out her work in “Unwind”), along with a string of guitarists, including frequent Scow collaborator Dusty Brough, alogn with Peter Sprague and Chico Pinheiro. There’s also a guest vocal spot courtesy of Claudia Villela. What you will definitely hear in this mix of jazz, Brazilian, and classical songs is… well, while I’m not sure if it was Green’s intention, but you will definitely hear the roots of soul and funk music, which is an accumulation of different styles and influences which became what it is known as today. These are songs with grooves, beats and passages with different emotions and means of intent, along with emotions that are sure to remind listeners of different things along their musical path. Even though Green and friends show that in this existence we call life, even though there are many means of travel to get to a place we call home, sometimes home is much closer than we think. The music is perhaps about what’s in our immediate vicinity, and that our travels are simply variations on a theme. We’re here, we’re all going there, and we’re all… we. It’s you, it’s me, it’s we, and this album is the welcome mat to the vast home we are in, wanting, demanding, needing, desiring. Welcome home. Reviewed by, John Book, ThisIsBooksMusic.com. (October 13, 2012)
I wish I had something stronger than Rick’s Pick with which to recommend this richly engaging and utterly brilliant album. The sophomore effort from pianist and composer Danny Green, it showcases a musical mind of rare sensitivity and rigor–not to mention an unusual creativity when it comes to arrangements. The tracks featuring mandolinist Eva Scow constitute the first really original use of that instrument in a jazz context since David Grisman’s work in the 1970s, and Green’s ability to shift smoothly and naturally from burbling bebop to hip-swaying bossa at the drop of a beat is very impressive. But the considerable technical achievements of this album are only the skeleton; what fleshes out the listening experience is Green’s musicality. From the snaky chromaticism of “Unwind” and “Flight of the Stumble Bee” to the heart-tugging melancholy of “Over Too Soon,” he pulls you in a hundred different directions and rewards you richly for following him every time. This is one of the best jazz albums I’ve heard in a decade. Reviewed by, Rick Anderson, CDHotlist.com. (October 2, 2012)
DANNY GREEN / A Thousand Ways Home: A jazz piano man that loves Latin jazz struts his stuff nicely here. And if you don’t hear the Miles influence in his music transformed from alloy to ivory, you aren’t listening. Simply a cat that knows his stuff and is certainly going places, this set shows that his high water mark debut set was no isolated occurrence. A tasty, dazzling set loaded with quiet fire pyrotechnics that just keeps bringing it and delivering the goods. Wonderful stuff you have to check out. Reviewed by, Chris Spector, MidwestRecord.com. (September 28, 2012)
Artists like Danny Green are exactly the reason I told a fairly large publication that I contributed to for a brief time and a larger independent label to take a hike…Green’s sophomore release will drop on October 16th. A Thousand Ways Home finds Green working in a most unique setting by merging jazz, classical, Brazilian and Latin into a most personal hybrid of expression that no other pianist dare take on. Green is taking an artistic road less traveled in the attempt to find and embrace his own lyrical presence at the piano bench and A Thousand Ways Home should indeed turn some heads. Green’s material here is all original and he handles the arrangement with skills and a welcoming melodic presence. There is an overwhelming feeling of joy that exudes from this recording. Joy is the essence of making music, lose that and you might as well sell cars for a living. Same goes for critics as well, a previous editor once informed me I was too passionate about music. I needed to remain detached with a more obtuse bent to my writing. Seriously? If Danny Green felt the same way we would not be talking about this stellar release we have been blessed with. Green’s joy of playing, arranging and composing place him in that rare jazz triple threat category and he is clearly excited about doing his job! Opening with “A Thousand Ways Home” there is a dynamic sense of lyrical purpose. A percussive flair couples with a nice counterpoint from saxophonist Tripp Sprague. An infectious energy coupled with the ability to shift harmonics on the fly as the various genres previously mentioned are incorporated without stripping one’s musical gears. Julien Cantelm owns the pocket on drums and adds a great deal of finesse and subtle nuances necessary to aid in the obvious transitions required here. Justine Grinnell is a lyrical bassist beyond reproach and rounds out a rock solid rhythm section. “Quintal da Solidao” is kicked off with Brazilian vocalist Claudia Villela and part of my passion does include Brazilian music that makes my musical back leg shake and this tune fills the bill nicely. Green’s punctuated articulation is the perfect accompaniment and is the rhythmic conductor driving this train. A soloist with a deft hand and keen ear shows Green at his very best. Joined by legendary Brazilian guitarist Chico Pinehiro this tune develops its own organic melodic pulse, the musicians are simply the conduit from which the energy travels. “Dusty Road – Part 1” has a deceptively subtle classical influence while maintaining a more contemporary cinematic approach. As a solo piano work or perhaps “Interlude” this snippet may showcase Green’s lyrical talent best. “Dusty Road – Part 2” includes guitarist Dusty Brough with an amazing yet ever so subtle samba beat that borders on the addictive. In most cases when a leader and especially a pianist attempts to pull off what is essentially a hybrid release that urns into nothing more than a futile if not self indulgent attempt at showcases the technical while leaving the artistic soul idling in the car, A Thousand Ways Home is a different kind of release. Combine the technically proficient with the artistically gifted and then toss in the appreciation and celebration of those musicians close to him and you have passion on a nice shiny disc. This is why I write about music in general and jazz in particular. Reviewed by, Brent Black, CriticalJazz.com. (September 28, 2012)
Pianist, composer Danny Green probably doesn’t get enough credit in a town with Mike Wofford, Joshua White, Anthony Davis, Geoffrey Keezer and Mikan Zlatkovich all in various levels of activity — but one thing’s for sure — this young cat knows how to make a record. Green’s latest effort, A Thousand Ways Home, is set for an October release — the advance copy I received spent quite a revolutions in my player before I could take it out. Green combines expertise in classical, jazz and Brazilian music into a unified, personal whole that is both supermelodic and highly rhythmic at its heart. On the title track, the core trio of Julien Cantelm on drums and Justin Grinnell on bass are augmented by the remarkable saxophone of Tripp Sprague who is featured 6 of the disc’s 13 tracks. It’s an intricate, Chick Corea-type feel where the melody is guided at every turn with forceful rhythmic ornaments. Sprague’s dry torrents of soprano expressions circumnavigate the landscape established by the rhythm section. Eva Scow’s mandolin sails through the sprightly Latin dynamic of “Unwind,” adding to the Baroque feel of the melody and ratcheting up the excitement with a virtuosic, blues-edged solo. Green’s own spot is all joyous melody circling around the contours of Grinnell’s bass and the constantly percolating drums of Cantelm. Claudia Villela’s sensuous songbird vocals lift and drive “Quintal da Solidao,” a tune that benefits greatly from Chico Pinheiro’s lithe comping and show-stopping solo. Special guest, Peter Sprague illuminates Green’s Monkish blues, “Soggy Shoes,” into a stuttering, stumbling aesthetic and tops it off with a wicked electric guitar solo. Dusty Brough sits in on “Dusty Road Part II,” blending well with Scow’s mandolin and adding an ecstatic flamenco-inspired guitar spot as well. There isn’t a weak cut on this record. Highly recommended. Reviewed by, Robert Bush, San Diego Reader. (August 10th, 2012)
“Danny Green is what evolution in jazz is all about, expressing the traits of those that came before him, with a style and panache that is all his own…an individual who expresses what is inside of him.” Chuck Vecoli – JazzReview.com

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