Last Updated on Thursday, 17 December 2009 03:51 Written by Tom Krehbiel Thursday, 07 January 1993 15:55
If you think you hear a lot of Oscar Peterson in Benny Green, you're right. The young pianist can emulate Peterson's two-fisted, take no prisoners pianism better than anyone (including Gene Harris and Monty Alexander). But in addition to the Peterson thing, Green can also do the Timmons thing, the Ramsey Lewis thing, the Shearing thing, the Monk thing, and just about any other piano thing he wants.
Right now, Green wants to explore and expand the jazz piano trio tradition so naturally there will be references to past masters (you can add Nat Cole, Ahmad Jamal, Horace Silver, and Phineas Newborn to the above list) in his work these days.
All this makes Green a fascinating listen. He has an admirable lack of self-consciousness about his various influences and idols. It's his own sense of security and confidence that allows him to borrow phrases, techniques, even tricks, and then give them back indelibly stamped with his own wit and creativity.
Green's quest toward a personal piano trio sound would be bootless without the aid of compatible and committed collaborators. Christian McBride and Carl Allen, long-time partners with Green, fill their roles perfectly. Perhaps in a few years, younger piano players will be looking to Green, McBride, and Allen much as those three look to Peterson, Brown, and Thigpen or Jamal, Crosby, and Fournier.
Those who are canny enough to grab this disc now can say "We heard it coming."tk 1993.01