★ ★ ★ ★
Review by John Fordham, The Guardian, January 2017
Barry Green, the below-the-radar but formidably skilled London pianist, takes off on cutting-edge New York collaborations. His 2015 trio with American drummer Gerald Cleaver and saxophonist Chris Cheek proved that, and this New York-recorded set with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey is just as surefootedly inventive.
Half of the dozen tracks are Green’s (who’s an adroit composer of postbop cliffhangers as well as thoughtful song themes); the others are famous Broadway, pop and jazz tunes. Green’s jagged, stop-start title track is a typical contemporary-jazz mix of avant-swing and a flinty Latin feel.
Bud Powell’s standard Bouncing With Bud is a wonderful interpretation, with its famous tune long postponed, Gress delivering an awesome bass solo of sly flicks and graceful melodic curves, and Green’s improvisation a balance of foxy restraint and impulsiveness. You’ll Never Walk Alone is fragmented and reharmonised without sabotage, Lulu’s Back In Town and Thelonious Monk’s Work are vivacious rhythm-teasers of quite different kinds.
This fine trio start a week’s UK tour from 31 January.