Born: June 14, 1937 Primary Instrument: Piano
Burton Greene figured prominently in New York's free jazz movement of the '60s, performing with such major figures as Alan Silva, Marion Brown, Sam Rivers, Albert Ayler, Byard Lancaster, Gato Barbieri, etc. As a child, Greene studied classical music at the Fine Arts Academy in Chicago; In the mid 1950's he studied jazz with Dick Marx. Greene moved to New York in the early '60s, as the city's free jazz movement was gathering momentum. There, he formed the Free Form Improvisation Ensemble with Silva in 1963 -- reputedly one of the first groups devoted to playing a wholly improvised music. In 1964, he joined the Jazz Composer's Guild. During the mid-'60s, he recorded for the ESP-Disk label as a leader, before moving to the Netherlands in 1970. Greene became something of a journeyman, performing all over Europe while maintaining a residence on a houseboat in Amsterdam. He recorded intermittently in the '70s and '80s. Greene became one of the few free jazz musicians to experiment with synthesizers. He's played solo and led various bands of unusual instrumentation. Since 1989 he has a jazz/klezmer/sephardic/balkan band called Klezmokum based in Amsterdam. Klezmokum has several CD releases on the BV Haast label..(see www.klezmokum.com). A recent project is his klezmer jazz group Klez-Edge, which features clarinetist Perry Robinson. During the '90s, Greene recorded more frequently in the U.S., notably for the Cadence Jazz and C.I.M.P. labels. Greene's autobiography is entitled Memoirs of a Musical Pesty Mystic -- or -- From the Ashcan to the Ashram and Back Again, published by Cadence Jazz Books. Since 2000 Burton's music has been issued on several CD's on CIMP including a duo: Peace Beyond Conflict with bassist Mark Dresser, a quartet with Roy Campbell: Isms Out, a trio with Ed and George Schuller: Ins and Outs, a quintet with Paul Smoker: Signs of the Times, and a solo piano: Retrospective 1961--2005. Burton's newest releases are on the Tzadik label: Klez-Edge: Ancestors, Mindreles, Na-Gila Monsters (2008), Burton Greene/Perry Robinson Duo: Two Voices In the Desert (2009). Burton continues to do concerts all over Europe and the USA. He also teaches improvisation and jazz piano.