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The Chris Greene Quartet - Voted "Chicago's Best Jazz Band" By Readers of the Chicago Reader Drops Surprise Digital Album, "PlaySPACE" To Coincide with their Latest Appearance at Evanston's SPACE
(Published: February 15, 2019)

The Longstanding, Ever-Adventurous Combo Hits SPACE at 7 PM/Sunday/Feb. 17, 2019

With the previously unannounced digital release of "PlaySPACE," a great-sounding new live album, the Chris Greene Quartet continues reaching out to its fans and followers to thank them for their support - and give them a hint of what's coming up for the band.

The hour-long album, initially available as a download or in streaming mode, was recorded at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Il in January of 2018. It's one of the Chicago area's top-ranked venues, and one of the CGQ's favorites.

The digital record release (a full limited edition CD version will follow) coincides with the CGQ's February 17 show at SPACE, to begin at 7 p.m.

"PlaySPACE" follows the three volumes of Greene and company's "PlayTime" mixtape series, released in 2010, 2012 and 2016, respectively.

"We think these live albums are a great way to complement our appearances at SPACE and stay in touch with listeners," said Greene, who grew up not far from the Evanston club. "It's also a lot of fun making these recordings available."

A full-length, hour-long album, "PlaySPACE" draws from the CGQ's extensive body of recorded originals while updating the band's percussive, Latin-style reworking of Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil." For the CGQ, which created an irresistible reggae-style version of Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream," taking that kind of creative license is standard operating procedure.

Formed in 2005, the Chris Greene Quartet includes Greene on tenor and soprano saxophone, Damian Espinosa on piano and keyboards; Marc Piane on double bass, and Steve Corley (who joined in 2011) on drums and percussion.

Remarking on Corley's remarkable time feel, Greene said, "It's like if Jack DeJohnette and Questlove had a baby." That tells you a lot about his and the group's stylistic reach. Pop, soul, funk, hard bop, modal music, free jazz, fusion, reggae, Latin music, lounge music - they're all in the mix. Greene has expanded his range by performing with such varied artists as Common, the Temptations, Brazilian soul star Ed Motta and Andrew Bird.

"I have a hard time staying in place," said Greene. "With the music I like, I just can't help thinking, what would it be like if I did this, or this?" Or, in the case of "Blues for Dr. Fear," named after his son's "evil alter ego," "What if the Yellowjackets recorded for Chess Records?"

And continuing in the "What if?" mode, what if, after playing the recognizable melody of "Speak No Evil" over a montuno pattern, he let the drummer ride the song out until near the end? Applying rock-ish energy to his solo, Corley gives the Shorter classic maximum lift.

The 45-year-old Greene studied under legendary music educator David Baker at the University of Indiana. He went on to study with groundbreaking saxophonist Steve Coleman and Coleman's great mentor Von Freeman. Absorbing such influences, Greene has developed an excitable sound all his own.

Greene led the band New Perspective in the late '90s and early 2000's. He has always prized a working group's ability to "to leave fingerprints on each other's playing." (Not for nothing was the CGQ's 2012 album named A Group Effort.) He knows how rare it is to be able to sustain a band as long as his quartet.

Greene, Espinosa, Piane and Corley should have plenty of more opportunities to document their chemistry in the studio. For now, here's serving number four of the band's live chops on record. Firing on all cylinders, they very noticeably are having as good a time as the audience.

No wonder Chicago Reader readers voted them the best jazz band in town.

More Information: https://chrisgreenequartet.bandcamp.com/album/playspace

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