With the release of his debut CD, the “Warren Greig Trio”, Toronto jazz guitarist Warren Greig steps out from the shadows of sideman and into the spotlight as leader. It is a role that appears to suit him just fine as he leads his organ trio on an enthusiastic, inviting, and musically expressive date of nine tunes, (six standards and three originals penned by Greig) that showcases Greigs’ deep-rooted appreciation for the straight-ahead jazz line.
From the first tune, “Sonnymoon for Two” to the last, “Jersey Bounce”, Greig’s warm and woody tone (played on a gorgeous vintage ES-175) swings with fervor and delight as he exhibits a strong melodic playing style that is exceedingly musical, developed, and right on the money. From burn (“Minority”, “Melissa”), to bluesy (“Sonnymoon for Two”, “Jersey Bounce”), to bossa (“Manha De Carnival”), Greig is a dynamic guitarist who sounds right at home with the tunes he has chosen for this date. His playing style is fluid and smooth as he navigates through the changes with a confidence and ease that speaks of musical maturity and skill which is what I enjoyed most about Greig’s playing. His lines are clearly developed with a logical direction that speaks volumes about dedication to one’s craft. This is player who has obviously listened to the best and has learned his lessons well. Plus he can write cool tunes (“Melissa”, “Two-Part Strutt” and “Cianciana”). It’s no wonder he was a popular sideman for so long.
And speaking of sidemen, where would the “Trio” be without the remaining members of Greig’s group: Paul Wiggins on organ and Harry Ellis on drums. Both players take their roles as musical supporters very seriously as they lay down the harmonic and rhythmic foundations for Greig’s melodic musings. And in true organ trio fashion, organ and guitar share the solo spotlight as each player lends his own particular personality to the changes with Wiggins’ displaying an amusing penchant for quoting other tunes in his solos (check out Greig’s original composition “Melissa” for a taste.) Through all this, Ellis keeps the time steady and the tunes energized, while getting to shine during a few “trading fours” sections, making this CD a definite enjoyable listen.
If you are a student or fan of jazz guitar and appreciate those who are trying to keep the jazz flame burning bright, then pick up a copy of Warren Greig’s “Warren Greig Trio”. It makes a wonderful addition to any music lover’s collection.