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Album Review: Jimmy Greene's 'Mission Statement'

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


Jimmy Greene Album Mission Statement jazz saxophone
Courtesy of Sunnyside Records
Saxophonist Jimmy Greene’s latest release, Mission Statement (Sunnyside/Razdaz), is a diverse and colorful survey of modern jazz saxophone. The songs vary in style, at times drawing from funk, free improvisation, and cerebral odd-meter trends, but they are unified by Greene’s robust and sincere tone.

Featuring guitarist Lage Lund, drummer Eric Harland, pianist Xavier Davis, and bassist Reuben Rogers, Mission Statement is characterized by an uncluttered sobriety. The compositions, almost all of which are originals (except for “Give Thanks,” by Harry Smith), tend to lean into introspective territory.

What else can we expect from recording that is devoted to capturing various personal elements of Greene’s life, including (according to the liner notes) “love, faith, family, relationships, childhood and dreams?” The music avoids feeling distant thanks to the outpouring nature of Greene’s solos. Even Lund, whose precision can be mistaken for coldness, sounds as if he needs to get something off his chest.


The opening track, “Mission Statement,” with its angular guitar and saxophone unison melodies, and an obsessive chord pulsing repeatedly in the piano, smacks of jazz modernity á la Mark Turner and Kurt Rosenwinkel. It sets the tone accurately for the rest of the album, building intensely, but never going overboard.

“Fathers and Sons” is wistful and rainy at first. Lund’s solo is melancholic, although bristling with a mysterious quality that constantly sounds on the verge of eruption. When Greene takes over, the tone shifts to an effusive plea. His solo’s verbal quality is a result of his stringing together of ideas, spinning overarching phrases out of melodic threads.

“Mr. Octopus” begins as creepily as the title implies. A rumbling solo saxophone melody is quickly taken over by an ominous response in the rhythm section, bringing to mind a cartoon-like chase. Greene’s solo, which strays from harmonic boundaries, and reminiscent of mad babbling, is punctuated by sharp bursts in the piano. Harland flutters about the drums, creating an aura of disarray and dishevelment.

The music on Mission Statement is simple yet filled with subtlety, making it worthy of repeated listening.

Release Date:

April 7th, 2009 on Sunnyside/Razdaz Records


  • Jimmy Greene – saxophone
  • Lage Lund – guitar
  • Xavier Davis – piano, Fender Rhodes
  • Reuben Rogers – bass
  • Eric Harland – drums
  • Stefon Harris – vibraphone

Track List

  1. Mission Statement
  2. Fathers And Sons
  3. Trials
  4. Love In Action
  5. Revelation
  6. In Nelba's Eyes
  7. Yeah You Right!
  8. Mr. Octopus
  9. Ana Grace
  10. Give Thanks
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