Appeared in The Jazz Journal International
COOKIN’ IN BROOKLYN
(1) Action; Waterloo; (2) Exodus; (1) Know Not One; (2) Ruth; (1) The Summit; I Want To Be Wanted; Chasing Shadows; (3) Singapore (63.37)
(1) Leon Greening (p); Mike Janisch (b); Steve Brown (d). Brooklyn, New York, 29 & 30 January, 2011.
(2) same as (1) except add Vincent Herring (as). (3) same as (2) except add Alex Garnett (ts).
Leopard Records 1
Decades ago an American record producer friend asked, after listening to several new British jazz releases, “Why do your pianists sound so timid and tentative?” How times have changed, and Leon Greening, a young Southampton-born pianist, epitomises the assured confidence of a new generation.
Times have changed too in that 50 years ago we could not have imagined that, say, Terry Shannon would fly over the Pond to New York with a couple of chums to make his first album as a leader. That’s what happened here when Greening, drummer Steve Brown and tenorman Alex Garnett met up with the UK-resident US bassist Mike Janisch and altoist Vincent Herring at Systems Two Studio in Brooklyn, where all those fine Sharp Nine releases are recorded.
Greening pays tribute to predecessors Wynton Kelly, Bobby Timmons, Vic Feldman and Dudley Moore with powerful and swinging assessments of their tunes, stirs in a couple of his own numbers along with a Wayne Shorter piece and the neglected I Want To Be Wanted (also once recorded by Vic Feldman). While choosing great role models, Greening is astute enough to have found his own voice and avoided the quicksand of copying.
The tightly-knit trio material provides most interest here, although Cannonball-influenced Herring enlivens Exodus and Ruth, while Garnett joins the party on the closing Singapore.
With a note of endorsement from guitar ace Jim Mullen (“Leon Greening nails his bebop colours to the mast and lets us hear what all the fuss is about”), this positive pianist is off to a flyer. Mind you, he would sound just as good in Bromley as he does in this Brooklyn venture. Catch him when you can, starting with this surprisingly mature debut date.”