San Diego piano virtuoso Danny Green is one of the area's most technically accomplished musicians, and his trio -- with electric/acoustic bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm -- represents one of the tightest groups in local jazz history.
Green's latest album, "After the Calm," was captured in high fidelity at SpragueLand Studios in Encinitas, and the music it contains is noteworthy for uptempo Latin grooves with a definite nod to the legendary piano master Chick Corea, to whom Green owes an obvious debt.
The Corea influence is front and center on "End of the Block," where Green's fingers fly about the keyboard, propelled by Grinnell's stuttering ostinato and the incredibly crisp and precise ride-cymbal articulations of Cantelm.
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Dense harmonic sequences and big, dark chords characterize "Thirty Springrolls, Please," featuring Green's effusive right hand, whereas gauzy classical gestures dominate "In a Dreamy State," which really sings upon the groaning upright of Grinnell, whose aesthetic on the acoustic instrument seems diametrically opposed to his busy work on the electric. Here, Grinnell gives each note its due, with sonically glorious results. At times, Green's melodic ecstasy borders on the fulsome, and he frequently relies on wicked rhythmic unisons and metric surprises to mitigate a diatonic overdose -- and on "Two Ways About It" and "March of the Ghouls," it is really the quiet surge of Cantelm that saves the day.
"Another One for You" seems like more of a nod to Bill Evans, even though the totally in-the-pocket drums evoke Steve Gadd far more than Paul Motian. Again, it is Grinnell's grainy double-bass lyricism that lingers in the ear.
These guys are extremely tight, and any fans of Chick Corea's work -- or Brazilian music in general -- are sure to enjoy "After the Calm."
Robert Bush is a freelance jazz writer who has been exploring the San Diego improvised music scene for more than 30 years.