Review by Selwyn Harris, Jazzwize, April 2017
★ ★ ★ ★
The pianist Barry Green has self-produced a handful of enterprising recordings for his Moletone label that are testament of a song melody-driven contemporary post-bop manifesto.
Among his recorded bands are Babelfish, a writing collaboration with E17 Collection vocalist Brigitte Beraha, a duo with veteran bass namesake Dave Green, through to a 2015 trio CD with the mesmerising drummer Gerald Cleaver and saxophonist Chris Cheek. From the same period he was in New York, Green recorded this even stronger piano trio CD with the inimitable drummer Tom Rainey (they met as sideman with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock’s band), and bassist Drew Gress, touring the CD early 2017 in the UK.
Made up of pop song covers, jazz standards and originals, his version of You’ll Never Walk Alone cold melt the hearts of the most hardcore Manchester United FC supporters. Fats Waller’s Lulu’s Back In Town is a crunching post-bop toe-tapper and there are nicely handled salutes to piano heroes, Monk (Work) and Powell (Bouncing With Bud).
Green’s originals tend to have a more abstract feel about them, though the modernist ‘classical’ influences never obscure Green’s love of pure melody while his ballad I Could See The Smallest Things echoes the work of Brad Mehldau. A version of Paul Simon’s Train In The Distance touches on the kind of singer-songwriter repertoire he recorded with singer-songwriter Emilia Mårtensson on the excellent And So It Goes CD on Babel, as does a stuttering Paul Bley-ish miniature of The Beatles’ Her Majesty. Rainey is in his element on that one and with long-time partner Gress gives unobtrusive yet inventive support throughout.