Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Greene, Burton (Garrett)

Greene, Burton (Garrett), piano; b. Chicago, IL, 14 June 1937. Narada is a spiritual name given to him by his yoga teacher of many years, Swami Satchidananda. His parents were of Russian and Roumanian Jewish lineage. His father, Harry Greene (1908-1974) was born in New York, NY. His mother, Yvette Bolner Greene (1907-1974) was born in Pittsburgh, PA and was a classical pianist who did some teaching. He had two siblings, Sherwin Greene (1933-1997) and Ronald Greene (b. 1944), both born in Chicago.

He studied with Isadore Buchalter of the Fine Arts Building (1944-1951), then studied jazz theory and harmony with Dick Marx (1955-1956). He performed in the mid 1950's with Billy Green and Ira Sullivan.  He arrived in New York in 1962 and formed an early spontaneous composition group with bassist Alan Silva in '63: The Free Form Improvisation Ensemble.  He joined the Jazz Composers Guild in '64 (organized by Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor) and formed his first recorded quartet in '65 which included Marion Brown and Henry Grimes.  He performed in New York in the 1960's with such people as Sam Rivers, Rashied Ali, Albert Ayler, Patty Waters, Byard Lancaster, Gato Barbieri, etc.  Burton was involved with the New Music Concert Series in Town Hall and YMHA organized by Max Pollikoff which included panel discussions with Morton Feldman and Earle Brown.

Burton moved to Europe in 1969, first to Paris and then to Amsterdam.  Since that time he has toured and recorded extensively in both Western and Eastern Europe with occasional tours in America.  Mr. Greene has recorded over 40 records and CD's of his compositions in many and varied contexts.  As an eclectic composer and performer, his works are involved with jazz, contemporary classics, electronics, and a great variety of folklore musics. 

Burton has collaborated with many musicians; among them are John Tchicai, Archie Shepp, Anthony Braxton, Willem Breuker, Han Bennink, Keshavan Maslak, Sunny Murray, Frank Wright, Sean Bergin, Paul Stocker, Theo Loevendie, Martin van Duynhoven, Clarence Becton, Perry Robinson, Roswell Rudd, Tjitze Vogel, Raoul van der Weide, Tom Jones, Tobias Delius, Michael Moore, Akki Hak, Lou Grassi, Wilber Morris, Roy Campbell, Mark Dresser and others.

The years 1969-74 saw much activitiy for Greene, including "Om Chorale" for 25 singers and 5 instrumentalists ('74), composed for yoga teacher Swami Satchidananda at Yogaville--Pomfret Center, Connecticut; Tarot, a musical play with poet/playwright Vincent Gaeta ('73); Co-created East West Trio with Indian Sitarist Jamaluddin Bhartiya and New York percussionist Daoud Amin. One of the first world music groups, it has existed more than 20 years;  "Depth" ('70) composed for 10 musicians and recorded by AVRO Radio in Holland; and  "Holiday Suite" ('69) composed for the Danish Radio Orchestra.

1975-77 saw the premiere of "Levensboom" (Tree of Life), a multi-media presentation with painter Diana Vandenberg, poet Vincent Gaeta, mime Jo Roehrig, light-slide show Hans Vaessen, and Bale Dawe Motema (African) dancers.  He also formed a 14 piece ensemble called "New Age Jazz Chorale" with tours in Holland and Germany, new works for the Holland Festival, and the recording "Light" which includes compositions "Manifesto for Angels" and "Tarot".

The years 1978-80 featured "Na-galm" (Reverberations), a musical collaboration in a theater piece created by Jenn ben Yakov; three month tour in Holland. Also, "We Have a Dream," a jazz oratorio commissioned by de Kosmos Center, Amsterdam in conjunction with the World Symposium on Humanity as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and Khalil Gibran.

He spent 1981-86 performing several quartet tours, recordings, and workshops in Eastern and Western Europe first with tenor saxophonist Fred Leeflang (Holland), and later with alto and soprano saxophonist Paul Stocker (U.S.A.). East West Trio tours and recordings with Jamaluddin Bhartiya (India)--sitar, and Glenn Hahn (Suriname) on Latin percussion.  Solo piano tours and recording.  Many new compositions (solo and quartet) including "Zephyr", "Free from Gravitation", "Uriel", "Arcturus", "Longing", "Phalanx", "Skumpy", "Murenga", and others.  Concerts in the U.S.A. in '86 at the American University (Washington, D.C.) and Hollywood Art and Culture Center (Florida).  Solo appearance at the opening of Lotus Center--Satchidananda Ashram (Virginia).

From 1987-80, he did "Music and Poetry in Resistance," a series of 8 compositions based on texts of South African poets in exile. There were many performances of this work with a 7 piece ensemble including vocalists Phil Arosa (Zimbabwe), Peggy Larson (U.S.A.), and Jose Koning (Holland), in Holland, Belgium, and Germany including CASA (anti-apartheid) festivals, and Festival for New Music in Middelburg, Holland.  Composer grant from Schepen de Toonkunst Foundation (Amsterdam) for electronics research and composition.

From 1989-91, Klezmokum formed with clarinetist Marcel Salomon in Amsterdam, Larry Fishkind (U.S.A.) on tuba, and Roberto Haliffi (Libya/Italy) on drums and African percussion.  Performances on Dutch Radio and TV.  Solo and duet tour with saxophonist Keshavan Maslak in Poland and the Soviet Union Baltic Republics.  Lectures and workshops at the Utrecht Conservatory. He spent 1991-96, touring Eastern and Western Europe with his world music group, Klezmokum, which is involved with a synthesis of Jewish and other Semitic music together with jazz and improvisation.  Concerts in New York of Klez-Jazz, (the American version of Klezmokum).  Trio concert tours in Germany with Clarence Becton--drums, and Tjitze Vogel--bass.  Quartet concert tour of Romania with saxophonist Liviu Butoi.  Many performances and 2 CD recordings with trombonist Akki Hak's band.  World Music workshops for Stichting Swing in Zwolle and Amsterdam, Stg. Jazz Workshops in Eindhoven, in Meppel and Middelharnis, Holland. Lecture at New England Conservatory, Boston, Mass. 

1996-1999 found him recording and performing concert tours in the USA and Europe.  Three festivals ('97--'99) at Knitting Factory in New York with Burton's klezmer/jazz band "Klezmokum." Concerts in Connecticut, Chicago, Buffalo, and Washington DC with Roswell Rudd, and Perry Robinson.  Quartet concerts at "Rituals" in Chicago with Hanah Jon Taylor, Malachi Favors, Kahil El Zabar. Festival Appearances include:  Mitte Europa (Germany '98), Amiens Jazz Festival (France '99), Les Amis de Brosella, and Ghent Festival (Belgium '99), International Jewish Music Festival and Klap Op de Vuurpijl  (Holland '98). He recently founded Klez-thetics (an offshoot of Klezmokum) featuring Akos Laki (Budapest, Hungary) on clarinet and tenor sax.

Selected recordings:
Burton Greene Quartet (1966); Burton Greene Trio on Tour (1967); Presenting Burton Greene (1968); Aquariana (1969); Mountains (1971); Trees     (1973); New Age Jazz Chorale: Light (1976); Variations on a Coffee Machine (1977); It's All One (1978); European Heritage (1978); The Past Is Also In the Future (1978); The Ongoing Strings (1980); East West Trio: Brugge Concert (1980); Lady Bug Dance (1980); East West Trio: Vienna Concert (1982); Zephyr (1983); One World Music (1984); Valencia Chocolate (1986); Klezmokum (1992); Klezmokum: Jew-azzic Park (1995); Lou Grassi: PoGressions (1996); Narada B. Greene: Shades of  Greene (1998); Throptics (1998); Klezmokum: ReJew-venation   (1998); The Free Form Improvisation Ensemble (1964 recordings released in 1999); These Spirits of Elsewhere (2000); Klezmokum: Le Dor Va Dor (2000); Live at Grasland (2004); Klez-thetics: Calistrophy (2003)

Feature article by Dan Warburton on my music in the March, '04 issue of Signal to Noise Magazine.
"Narada Burton Greene-- Memoirs of a Musical "Pesty-Mystic" published in 2001

http://www.paristransatlantic.com (interview)

Contact information:
Burton Greene
Postbus 16610
1001 RC Amsterdam
Website: www.burtongreene.com

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