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The New York City Jazz Record

Pianist Greg Burk spent his early jazz years working in
Detroit then was active in the jazz scene of Boston (he
was a member of Either/Orchestra on three of their
CDs) before relocating to Rome in 2004. His music is as
wide-ranging as his travels, from hardbop and
decidedly postbop to a ripely melodic romanticism
and a fondness for Bach.

Judging from the breadth of styles and approaches
evident on The Path Here, Burk is either a musical
chameleon or a protean jazz stylist conversant in a vast
swath of jazz history. Just take three of the trio tracks (3
of the 12 are solo, one from each trio member; another
features toy instruments). “Song for IAIA”, the opener,
wouldn’t sound out of place on a Ramsey Lewis record,
so replete is it with fat, funky chords and locked-hand
passages in full-blown soul jazz style. Nothing in it
prepares you for Track 7, “BC”, at a super-fast tempo
with avant, prickly clusters and flurries caught up in
fleet whirlwinds of quickly stabbed notes. Then there’s
the penultimate track, “I Left My Gun in Detroit”, a
bluesy hard bop tune that Burk takes beyond the usual
conventions by pitting left hand against right in a
contrapuntal solo that never strays from the swinging
momentum.

A similar left-right duologue occurs on the partial
waltz “Look to the Asteroid” and the rumbling duet
with drummer Gerald Cleaver, and in his own two
hands, on “Forward Leaping”. Burk can also be
unabashedly romantic, as on “Lost Time - Tonos”,
rapturously cascading arpeggios accompanied by arco
bass from Jonathan Robinson throughout. There’s also
a foray into tango territory (“Serenity’s Distant Dawn”)
and the closing track, “Stars Shine Still”, is pristine
lyricism, solo piano allowing notes to sustain and ring
in overtones as they slowly follow one another.

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