True Melody Music
Saxophonist/composer Tim Green’s debut album as a bandleader is a very personal-feeling journey through an array of emotions – or “seasons” as he refers to them in his liner notes. Green wears his spirituality on his sleeve throughout Songs From This Season, letting it fuel and guide the music from the short, gentle drift of “Psalm 1” that opens the album to the cool, romantic groove of “Chitown” and the lively romp of “Dedication”. The album’s thirteen cuts were recorded at three different studios with a varying cast of players, but Green is the guide and the glue that makes the album feel like one big, cohesive session.
All but two of the tunes on Songs From This Season are Green’s own – Billie Holliday’s “Don’t Explain” and Wayne Shorter’s “Pinocchio” being the exceptions – and the love, respect, and imagination applied to those make them true studies in musical maturity and understanding on Green’s part. (His horn beautifully captures Holliday’s mood and phrasing on the former; the latter finds him making a full-throttle run backed only by drummer Rodney Green and bassist Kris Fund.)
Tim Green’s various ensembles on the album feature some amazing players, who approach the music with the same wide-open vision as he. Check out Gilad Hekselman’s muscular solo over the sharply-angled rhythms of “Siloam” or his creamy-toned break on “Philippians 4:13”. Pianist Orrin Evans is outstanding on “Dedication”, playing co-pilot to Green’s joy-filled break early on, then tossing riffs back-and-forth with Warren Wolf’s vibes later in the song. Wolf’s playing on “The Queen Of Sheba” is as wild and wooly as Tim Green’s sax solo; “Shift” features a backdrop of soothing, wordless vocals by Micah Smith and Iyana Wakefield; the interplay of drummer Obed Calvaire and Hekselman on “Time For Liberation” is reminiscent of classic duels between Rodney Holmes and Steve Kimock; and Allyn Johnson’s keys on the closer “Hope” are both adventurous and complementary to Green’s main theme.
Ear-catching from start to finish, Songs From This Season pulls off the not-always-easy feat of fitting the bill as both a mood-setter for a Sunday afternoon or a dig-as-deep-as-you-want collection of well-jammed tunes. In short, Tim Green has proven himself to be both a talented player and leader.
Keep it coming, sir.
Brian Robbins spends his seasons over at www.brian-robbins.com