Burton Greene

If we can safely expect musicians to mellow with age, we can’t always count on this process yielding interesting work. The lengthy career of Burton Greene offers a compelling example of how to chill out while retaining one’s edge. The pianist first garnered attention in the early ’60s, plying expressionistic free jazz (as heard on Live at the Woodstock Playhouse 1965, a forthcoming archival release on Florida’s Porter Records). Two Voices in the Desert, a 2009 disc documenting Greene’s duo with clarinetist and fellow lifer Perry Robinson—who joins Greene at Sunday’s gig—demonstrates how much the pianist’s aesthetic has evolved in the intervening decades. The pair focuses on spare klezmer-based improvisation: sometimes playful, sometimes achingly somber. It’s just the right kind of mellow.—Hank Shteamer

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