Burton Greene is one cool pianist. He lived on a houseboat in Amsterdam during the '70s while playing with the likes of Sam Rivers, Bill Dixon, and Rashied Ali (featured on this album). Honed in Chicago, his latest release was with Klez-Edge, Greene composed all the music.

Back in '65 Greene, still firmly rooted in free-jazz, appeared at the Woodstock Playhouse with Ali, saxophonist Marion Brown, and bassist Reggie Johnson. This three song, 58 minute performance is not rooted in blues such as Ornette, nor the fire of Ayler or Coltrane, but a balance within composition between avant-garde classical and that of modal post-bop. Greene's ability to dance this line makes his brand of free jazz very accessible. Tree Theme II always has either Greene or Brown stepping in and out of structured lines, and then into improvised freedom. The rhythm section follows suit perfectly, anticipating every move.

'Cluster Quartet' begins to chug along with slow 1-2s, which change to doubled 1-ee-and-a-2s, and then eventually blast into a frenzy, like a perfect plan that suddenly falls apart. Respective solos are then taken. Brown, who this same year would file in behind Coltrane on Ascension, has a warm sound alike Trane's, but: 1.) is not scared to reserve it back down to a composed level and 2.) is able to do 1 because he's playing alto. This track's bass solo defines interplay between Reggie Johnson and Rashied, notably during through bowed screeches and quick-fire tweaks which drop the album down to it's lowest depths. On the finale 'Like it Is' the room is filled by Greene's somber induction and Brown's opening solo which brings out of this established low and back into a swirling solo section

Essentially this album can serve as a free-jazz gateway drug, but it could be coveted further for people who want some damn good music from jazz's most fertile era.


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