By Jonathan Gómez | Published October 2019
Guitarist Will Sellenraad’s Greene Street Vol. 1, a record predicated on blurring the lines between friendship and family, explores the possibilities that extended musical relationships bring to performance.
“Alter Ego,” a piece composed by James Williams, sets the tone with its extended introduction during which Sellenraad uses guitar effects to create a pulsating harmonic ambience. Bassist Rene Hart interjects melodic statements and drummer Eric McPherson develops a repeated rhythmic idea, building intensity until release comes with the start of the melody.
Such communication remains a constant, as on “Future,” a McPherson original. During Hart’s extended solo, a standout of the session, Sellenraad employs effects to keep a layer of sound in the background while comping, as McPherson creates a wash above the groove with his cymbals. This track also features Sellenraad at his soloistic best, balancing single-note lines, rhythmically-charged motives and chordal hits as responses to, and instigations for, his partners.
McPherson builds upon and weaves together rhythmic material on “Little El,” while Sellenraad and Hart create a wall of sound around him. In contrast, Sellenraad’s “Melancholy,” a short ballad, allows the musicians to breath together and explore space in its slower tempo, simmering rather than burning.
On Greene Street Vol. 1, the trio crafts melodies, solos and textures together, making use of their chemistry to produce an arresting album.
Greene Street Vol. 1: Alter Ego; Melancholy; Future; Deluge; Little El; Allegorical. (43:58)
Personnel: Will Sellenraad, guitar; Eric McPherson, drums; Rene Hart, bass.