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The Chris Greene Quartet
City Winery Chicago & WDCB present an evening of wine, food and music with Chris Greene Quartet live in concert on Monday, September 19th at 8:00 PM.
It will come as no surprise to fans of the super-eclectic Chris Greene Quartet, featuring pianist Damian Espinosa, bassist Marc Piane and drummer Steve Corley, that ‘Play Harder’ draws from a wealth of sources. This is a band that shifts easily from blues and swing to funk and hip-hop to rock and reggae. Previous albums have featured tunes by Madonna, John Coltrane, Sting, Charles Mingus and lounge music maestro Martin Denny.
On ‘Play Harder’, Greene and company turn their attention to classic Duke Ellington, country legend Hank Williams and fusion/smooth jazz great George Duke. The quartet recorded speedy versions of Ellington’s “Caravan” and Williams’ “You Win Again” early in its existence. This time, the band takes time to reflect on and deepen their interpretations.
“Caravan,” featuring Greene on soprano, opens on a moody note and unfolds in spacious, clear-eyed fashion before intensifying with the leader’s joyfully intense playing. “You Win Again” is a wonderful vehicle for Espinosa, whose soulful playing channels Ray Charles’s crossover version on Modern Sounds in Country Music. Greene mostly plays things close to the vest on tenor. “I cut loose a little in the end, but there was no call for flamboyance,” he says. “It was better to be in the moment.”
‘Play Harder’ also boasts some strong originals. “Samba fu Maga” is a Brazilian-style original by Greene. And “Divers” is a ripping postbop workout written by Piane, whom Greene characterizes as “a combination of Ray Brown and Paul Chambers.”