Sometimes serendipity knows just what it's doing. I threw Standards, Vol. 1 on right after getting enraptured and blissed-out in the Kej / Kellerman Winds of Samsara (here), a gorgeous progressive World disc, but Chris Greco and his band got me right back up out of the well-stuffed chair I was melting into. They put the be-bop back in my feets, the snip-a-snap in my grooving' fingers, and an abstract headsway to my balding pate, eliciting a 'man-I'm-gonna-start-dancing-right-here-in-the-kitchen!!' response that I'm having to sternly quell so I can get this review written. Standards 1, y'all, is the sort of crazy, too hip, freaky, whoa-listen-to-THAT, jazz-plus material that got me so hip to Dave Liebman, Paul Motian, and other world class hipsters back when I was discovering not only ECM but also Brubeck, Miles, Weather Report, and all the rest of the cats who still have my brain jangled (and me with no desire at all to return to normal).
Greco plays tenor and soprano saxes, flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet, but also interprets classic jazz numbers in a way that makes you think he wrote 'em. Tom McMorran is a HUGE influence in that regard, as adept and sidereal as Greco, the two deconstructing You Don't Know What Love Is like nightsky surgeons escapading with wendigos and sprites. Chris Colangelo enters on bass and continues to multifacet the cut as drummer Otis Hayes holds down terra firma so that the crew doesn't go flying into the clouds. Much of the disc follows in form.
Greco spares nothing, switching instruments from cut to cut, so you get a really meaty dive unto his mind and chops all around and everywhere, one moment copacetic and melodious, the next second slipping out the back door to wail with the alleycats, banshees, and hopheads. The guy grabs straight-ahead by the throat, jumps on its back, and makes it dance a demented tango, which is EXACTLY what ears like mine are forever athirst for, he all the while slyly recalling what compositions are meant for when not in a fever, in both cases grinning wickedly while bending the bars and measures every which way. And, as said, with McMorran just…fucking…nailing…it! Catch him especially in Monk's Bye-Ya. I'm tellin' ya 'n I'm tellin', Greco and McMorran go together like hand in glove…granted, a twitchy upleveled benzedrined hand around which the glove refuses to stay still, roaming up around the arm and back again, but perfectly matched nonetheless.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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