Chris Greene Quartet

(Single Malt)

Chicago tenor saxophonist Chris Greene’s hearty tone and sharp wit sound strongest when he’s commanding an audience. That becomes vividly clear on PlaySPACE, a live 2018 recording featuring work from the group’s Boundary Issues captured at Evanston SPACE, a venue located just a few blocks away from the bandleader’s Evanston, Illinois, home.

Greene’s surprising turnarounds come across immediately on his “Blues For Dr. Fear.” He remains a proud descendant of such ’60s soul-jazz saxophonists as Gene Ammons and Eddie Harris, both of whom, not so coincidentally, also had Chicago roots. Pianist Damian Espinosa’s “Thunder Snow” sounds both muscular and oblique through a series of sharply timed spaces. Alto saxophonist Marqueal Jordan—whose reputation might mostly be in smooth jazz circles—is brought onstage for a different kind of challenge on “The Crossover Appeal (Uno Mas).” Here, he engages in a fierce exchange with Greene, which shows off a welcome, and rougher, side to Jordan’s personality. The overall joy of their battle (another soul-jazz hallmark) is as vivid on disc as it was in the room that night.

On Sale Now
July 2024
90th Anniversary Double Issue!
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad