A Thousand Ways Home
I think I'm a little lost in the jazz woods with Danny Green. He sounds a lot like Vince Guaraldi, but picks up the Latin influences of guys like Manuel Galban (Buena Vista Social Club). His album won a major award, and its bright, sprightly sound makes a happy if slightly dissonant sound.
There's plenty of melody, but the strings are shifted off from the notes picked out on the guitar on "Unwind," and rather than relax, I get a bit on my guard. Things calm down on "Under Night's Cover," more of a romantic show tune that highlights Green's piano skills and de-emphasizes the moodiness of his jazz. Yet Green does have a wicked sense of musical humor. "Soggy Shoes" offers a rambling melody that could backdrop a traveling scene in an On-the-Road movie, and "'Flight of the Stumble Bee " is nothing at all like Rimsky-Korsakov's violin piece, rather this track takes little broken bars of music and makes a wavering arc of builds and pauses. "Tranquil Days" is the longest track here; at 7:20 its calming influence is occasionally challenged by a rising piano chorus and melancholic brass, but is always underscored by light drumming and brushes.
This feels like jazz for the sake of jazz. It revisits all the tropes we expect from late 20th-century composition, but never devolves to the smoothness of Kenny G or Erinn Abú.