Ted Greene Remembered
This release should be remembered as the guitar event of the year. A number of the world’s best players paying tribute to a common mentor is significant, but when the mentor was Ted Greene and those paying homage include such names as Lee Ritenour, Laurence Juber, Tommy Emmnauel, Jay Graydon, John Pisano, Anthony Wilson and Dan Sawyer, even the word significant doesn’t quite do justice.
This project, the brainchild of producer Tom Bocci, yields creative, heartfelt and profound musical creations from those artists and a few others whose names aren’t as recognizable. Nevertheless, the talents of Mark Goldenberg, Phil de Gruy, Stephen Bruton and Steve Ferguson are major league by anyone’s standards. And I mustn’t forget the popular pianist George Winston who surprises with his considerable ability as a slack-key guitarist. And then there’s Tom Bocci himself, playing a marvelous duet with Greene on the album’s final track.
I can’t think of an instance when this much guitar talent has been assembled for an album. Sure there were heavy hitters for the Concert for George and Clapton’s Crossroads, but those players were mainly rockers and blues artists who rely heavily on the pentatonic scale. And that’s not meant to be derisive in any way. Milking that blues scale creatively is every bit as much of an art as haiku or good poetry. But the Ted Greene Remembered CD is, dare I say it, more sophisticated and varied in its scope.
Tommy Emmanuel kicks off the set with an engagingly swinging version of “Watch What Happens,” followed by Laurence Juber’s stunning rendition of “A Foggy Day.” Lee Ritenour’s “For Ted” is soulful and poignant and indicative of Rit’s amazing and too-seldom-heard skill as a fingerstyle player. It’s a highlight. Jay Graydon turns in a seriously good version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” that’s at once a thoughtful patriotic salutation to the events of 9/11 as well as a nod to Ted’s love of baseball.
Space prohibits documenting each player’s contribution, suffice it to say that the tribute continues relentlessly with superb playing. In addition, each guitarist expresses his fondness for Greene with often amusing and insightful comments in the liner notes. Bocci has done us all a big favor here with this labor-of-love production. But then, that’s the only appropriate way to have done this. Bravo. Highly recommended. Five stars.
Author of: Conversations With Great Jazz and Studio Guitarists.
|Ted Greene Remembered
Listen to thirteen masterfully recorded tracks from some of Ted Greene's favorite players, accompanied by a beautifully designed four-panel Digipak and a twelve page booklet insert.