Chris Greene Quartet at Space

Sun, 7/23/23, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

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Chris Greene Quartet returns to Space on Sunday, July 23, with a special opening DJ set by DJ Pickled Beets & DJ Ian Dinsmor
Photo credit Janet Mami Takayama
The phrase "Space is the place" has long had multiple meanings for Chris Greene. These are, of course, the immortal words of jazz visionary Sun Ra, whose expansive influence shines bright on the tenor saxophonist. Space as a musical concept figures into Greene's uncluttered playing and arranging as well.
And SPACE is the name of the Evanston, Illinois club that is Greene's home away from home. In fact, the Evanston native lives only five minutes away. Having it so close has been a great comfort during the stressful days of the pandemic.
"It's a great place to play," he says. For him, the state of the art venue is also a great place to record. Though much of "PlaySPACE 2: Play Harder," his latest stellar effort with his longstanding quartet, was recorded there before the coronavirus struck, the high spirits and vibrancy of the performance – and the interaction with his devoted fans – speaks volumes on how important live shows are for artist and audience alike.
It will come as no surprise to fans of the super-eclectic Chris Greene Quartet, featuring pianist Damian Espinosa, bassist Marc Piane and drummer Steve Corley, that "Play Harder" draws from a wealth of sources. This is a band shifts easily from blues and swing to funk and hip-hop to rock and reggae. Previous albums have featured tunes by Madonna, John Coltrane, Sting, Charles Mingus and lounge music maestro Martin Denny.
Chris Greene was born on August 28, 1973 in Evanston, Illinois. His parents were big music fans, but there was only a smattering of jazz in the household. His mother blasted Motown at her monthly card parties. His father played a lot of and funk, soul and disco. Young Chris absorbed all manner of pop styles watching MTV.
He didn't know much about improvisation at first. "When I soloed it was with more nerve than skill," he said. As a self-styled "Joe Jazz Visionary," he had no great affinity for "older people's music. Cannonball [Adderley] was okay, but he was no Grover Washington, Jr." As devoted a follower of John Coltrane as he would become, he initially couldn't stand him. "The only Coltrane album my father had was Om, which I thought was absolutely terrible, the worst thing I ever heard."
That spacey album so turned off Greene to Trane that when someone later told him to listen to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and he saw that Coltrane was on it, he hesitated to put it on. "All I could think of was that Om guy," he said with a laugh. Eventually, he was "blown away" by Coltrane's playing on "My Favorite Things," which has had a strong influence on his efforts on soprano saxophone.
Partly as a personal challenge to catch up with a mother lode of modern jazz history, Greene began concentrating on tenor saxophone. He formed New Perspective, a band that released two albums (On the Verge, 1998, and Jazz, 2004), and played in a wide assortment of jazz, soul, pop and prog-rock groups. Among the notable artists he has hooked up with over the years are Common, the Temptations, Brazilian soul star Ed Motta and Andrew Bird.

Venue Information

Address:1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL 60202