Written by David Lyon from National Public Radio
Delaware Water Gap, a small town in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, is home to its share of talented jazz musicians. Phil Woods lives in the area, Keith Jarrett is not too far away and the Deer Head Inn is a legendary jazz spot where both men have played. It’s all part of a regional jazz tradition started by artists such as Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz and trombonist Urbie Green.
Urbie Green actually settled in the Poconos and raised a family with his wife Kathy Preston, herself a big-band singer. Pianist Jesse Green is their talented son, and he still calls Delaware Water Gap home. From the scenic town running along the mountain pass, Green has nurtured a delicate balance between his jazz career and family life. Green dips his toes into the New York scene occasionally, but he spends most of his time teaching piano and trombone out of the home he shares with his wife and three daughters.
His family’s importance in his life shines through the set list he chose for this show. His first solo, “My Miracle,” is a sweetly swinging waltz dedicated to his wife. Later on, Green performs a tender ballad written for his young daughters called “Angel, Aurora, Sunbeam and Love.”
Having grown up in a household of professional musicians, Green’s family quite naturally extends beyond his own kin and includes other musicians. They, too, are the subjects of his musical tributes here. His tune “The Amazing Joe Cohn” is an homage to another second-generation jazz player; Joe, the son of the great sax player Al Cohn, is one of Green’s friends and also one of his favorite guitarists. In another original, “Pottery,” Green captures the modern jazz vibe of sax player, composer and Green family friend Chris Potter. Both tunes feature some stellar interplay among Green, bassist Martin Wind and drummer Glenn Davis.
McPartland offers the favor of her delicate solo take of “My Foolish Heart.” And Green pays with a performance of McPartland’s “Twilight World,” which shows the versatility of this amazing young artist. Hopefully, Delaware Water Gap will continue to share its native son with the wider jazz world.
Originally recorded Oct. 20, 2008.