Born: May 2, 1933 | Died: July 5, 2004 Primary Instrument: Piano
Legendary and highly-respected Philadelphia pianist / keyboardist Eddie Green was a sideman on dozens of projects, and finally released two CDs as a leader, the long out-of-print debut This One's For You and his posthumously-released coda Shades of Green.
After informal tutoring with Bud and Richie Powell and studying harmony, theory, composition and arranging at Combs College of Music, Eddie Green performed with the likes of Dexter Gordon, Slide Hampton, Donald Byrd, Hank Crawford, Max Roach, Betty Carter, Gary Bartz, George Coleman, Junior Cook and many others. He was on records that went gold: Billy Paul's Me and Mrs. Jones and Lou Rawls' When You've Heard Lou, You've Heard It All. His distinctive touch graced albums by guitar virtuoso Pat Martino, Sonny Criss and Jean Carn; in addition to his musicianship, his talents as as a composer were spotlighted on recordings by his own groundbreaking '70s fusion group Catalyst, the Odean Pope Saxophone Choir, Rochelle Ferrelle and Suzanne Cloud.
Green appeared internationally at the Mt. Fuji (Japan), North Sea (Holland), Montreaux (Switzerland) and Nice (France) Jazz Festivals. Locally in Philadelphia, he was awarded honors by the Trane Stop Resource Institute, the City of Philadelphia and the Mill Creek Jazz and Cultural Society for both the 1993 and 1994 Reader's Choice Best Jazz Piano. Eddie Green never omitted the listener from his Jazz equation.
On four tunes, the quartet is supplemented with the Tyrone Brown String Ensemble. The violas, violin, and cello plus Brown's bass add a sense of lushness to the music without sacrificing any of the rhythmic adventurousness or delightful improvisations inherent in the quartet's work. The ensemble's melody statement on Eddie Harris's 'Freedom Jazz Dance' permeates 'Jazz Free' to become the right ingredient for reflecting on the merits of the time-honored piece. The mood and rhythms change on 'Passi Flora,' where a Flamenco beat controls the tune's direction. The Blues, however, remain the lifeblood of the quartet. It pops up in numerous scenarios including the bouncy 'All of a Sutin.' Vocalist Clemmons-Washington joins the band on the closing 'Peace' to implant an uplifting message of hope. Green is a seasoned musician who has honed his playing and composing skills to a fine edge. Both attributes shine through on this enjoyable reminder of the music's gracious era.
Eddie Green lived the jazz life in Philadelphia. The Willow Grove-born pianist was a quietly legendary figure, backing the soul hits of Billy Paul, fronting the fusion band Catalyst, and becoming the first-call local accompanist for jazz singers from Lou Rawls to Little Jimmy Scott. Here on his last recording, his lines are models of soulful modesty and humor, casting the glow of a good friend's smile.
Vibraphonist Randy Sutin plays a bigger role than he might have had Green's health been better...Bassist Tyrone Brown of Max Roach's quintet and drummer Jim Miller, both longtime Green collaborators, are mainstays, helping Green rediscover 'Prayer Dance' from the Catalyst songbook. The set covers some snazzy funk on 'Jazz Free' and includes some amusing moments, including 'Passi Flora,' with a Spanish vibe.