"...I write the funky stuff while Damian writes what everyone likes..."
Hey, blogspot readers, after an unseasonably warm day, it was time to relax and enjoy a night of cool Jazz. Tonight's On The Town adventure had SouthSide taking a well deserved break from her typical rock scene ...dressing up (a little) for her debut appearance at Mayne Stage. Located in the heart of the Rogers Park neighborhood (and a short walk from CTA's Morse Red Line station), this venue offered one unique concertgoing experience for this reviewer. She noted it had, no matter where seated in the balcony or main floor, an excellent 180 degreed wrap-around view of the stage which gave a sense of being spacious as well as intimate in size. Another plus about Mayne was the sound quality. The audience again no matter where they were seated had a clear crisp audio projection of tonight's performance. And hear that? Pure silence inside the venue too. It was like being inside a recording studio, blogspot readers, with miminal distractions and/or lobby noise to ruin one moment of the incredibly intense music experience during Chris Greene Quartet's performance. If you haven't attended a show or concert at Mayne Stage, she highly recommends visiting it especially when the legendary Jazz-fusion band Spyro Gyra makes an appearance there on June 7. For more information and tickets, check out Mayne Stage's website - http://www.manynestage.com.
Now back to SouthSide's "...incredibly intense music experience during Chris Greene Quartet's performance...", blogspot readers. And what an experience it was for this reviewer. Oh she could say it was uplifting ...awe-inspiring ...soulfully expressive yet those mere descriptions would hardly capture the entire concert from start to finish. You simply had to be there to not only hear but also witness the extraordinary floetry of sound and music felt while attending Chris Greene's "A Group Effort" album release concert. Yes, it was THAT incredible, blogspot readers. No, she wasn't bribed to write such glowing remarks in this review. This Jazz artist and each member of his band had a way of affecting the audience via music whether it was a lively, upbeat rhythmic tempo or a somber yet reverently played tune within a gospel-like tempo. This Quartet took the audience (SouthSide included) on a journey filled with emotional depth and soul-reaching sound during the near two hour performance. You could say it was almost like experiencing "The Twilight Zone" of a profound Jazz performacne in which SouthSide highly suggests taking such a journey yourself. And you don't have to be a Jazz aficionado to apprecciate it either. Just relax ...and let go allowing Chris Greene and his Quartet members take you away...
Performing this concert, according to Chris, as a "...regular old gig...", this Jazz quartet featured a setlist of tunes off the new album, "A Group Effort" as wll as previous ones and a few favorites like Charles Mingus and Madonna. Yes, blogspot readers, you read correctly. SouthSide did mention Madonna ...more about her and Hank Williams Jr later in the review. The setlist alone was an interesting repertoire mix of compositions written by Chris Greene (saxophone), Damian Espinosa (piano/keyboards), and Marc Piane (double bass) with Steve Corley adding his own personal touch to each Jazz piece on drums. In SouthSide's best opinion, she felt the songs performed were a fair representation of the composer's persoanlity besides offering a tiny sliver into their thoughts and/or emotions at the time of composing. For example, the opener - Good Riddance (by Chris Greene), this reviewer got the distinct impression of being told to "hit the road, Jack" from the bit of intensity laced within the rhythmic Jazz groove and sound. She thoroughly enjoyed the energetically loud "in your face" moments heard throughout but it was only to briefly add some spice amongst the relaxing lull of calmness ...creaing an atmosphere full of bursting, ear-pleasing music to which enthused tonight's audience espeically during the piano wizardry by Damian at the bridge.
Meanwhile, STAT (by Marc Piane) from the new album took that same energy and face-paced momentum and switched it for a smoother, laidback Jazz groove featuring a high alto saxophone melody flowing throughout the band's rhythmic beat. Still retaining a certain amount of intensity, used only for spontaneous bursts of life, SouthSide liked the calming poetry writeen in the music that allowed the ears to enjoy each and every instrumental note. Beginning a few bars without Chris' saxophone, the downtempo sound had cascading waves of crescendos and falls from each band member before Chris added a touch of hot spice to truly heat as well as mellow things out. This reviewer also liked how this piece wasn't necessarily rushed even though timed perfectly to feel like an all-night Jazz jam session of beautiful music, blogspot readers, that gradually ended with a calming yet steady rhythm. Then there was Three And Six (by Damian Espinosa) which offered yet another contrasting Chris Greene Quartet moment when deeper into this concert. This gospel-like tune opened with a somber bass 3-chord stance working both melody and rhythm amazingly at the same time until the rest of the band joined in underneath a slower downtempo beat. No offense to Chris Greene but this particular piece really spoke to SouthSide because of its reverent display of emotions within a non-hurried musical atmosphere surrounding her. Though having bouts of sadness, this lovely instrumental piece also had its moment of fiery spirited momentum off Chris' saxophone ...definitely had the audience feeling a wide range of emotions here and there that were wonderfully conveyed from each instrument. Very melodic with its Jazz spunk SouthSide highly suggests listening to this song. After taking a long look at the notes taken during this concert, SouthSide can safely conclude the other songs performed had or slmost had the same profound spiritual effect on the ears, mind and soul, blogspot readers.
She recommends grooving your body and feet to Chris Greene's composition - Bride of Mr. Congeniality to which the Quartet stepped up the rhythm and music up two notches higher to have you rockin' to the swift paced floetry of a funky Jazz sound. Hot intensifying saxophone melodies floating everywhere before the band took center stage during the bridge to calm things down a bit with a featured drum solo by Steve (he totally had some in the audience fired up during the crescendoing buildup). Though a little disappointed that there was no excitable POW after Steve's percussion crescendo to sock it to the audience, SouthSide still enjoyed the livelier side to this Quartet's performance. Also check out You'll Thank Me Later (also a Chris Greene composition), blogspot readers, for its cool classic Jazz sound amidst the waves of rises and falls laced throughout the melodic rhythms. Now, back to Madonna and what this pop artist had to do with Chris Greene Quartet's performance. It's quite unique to hear how different genres of music translated into other genres during a performance like for example Led Zeppelin's Kashmir or Stairway to Heaven done symphonically. Well, Chris and band wonderfully took Madonna's classic 80s hit song Boderline that launched her into the music scene and flipped it into a rockin' jazz number, blogspot readers. Or how about a little Hank Williams Jr (You Win Again) out of the country genre and into a more a jazz tune that you can still move your feet to. Yet the highlight of the covers during this concert was the performance of a Charles Mingus classic - Nostalgia In Times Square. This 1959 Jazz classic was brought back to life with all of its smoky club atmosphere and lively upbeat tempo by Chris Greene Quartet which had this reviewer wonderfully excited note after each note. These talented musician "owned" this jazz cover by giving the music explosively bursts of energetic life and momentum that felt intense yet so cool especially taking the final bars to a quiet lull before adding one last burst of excitement to end with a swinger feel.
What a night for music ...what an experience she will never forget.
SouthSide highly recommends attending Chris Greene Quartet's next performance, blogspot readers. Be prepared to have one intense Jazz experience like never before. For more information, visit http://www.chrisgreenejazz.com.
Until next time, support your local scene,