Concert Reviews

Tim Green at the Hemingway Room – Showcasing Some Impressive Students

[Photo Credit: Nick Moreland]

The Sonic Lifeline production and promotion group kicked off its spring 2024 series of jazz concerts in the Hemingway Room at Little Havana restaurant (near Federal Hill) on February 23, with two shows featuring Tim Green on alto sax, Terry Brewer on piano and Hammond B-3 organ, Kris Funn on acoustic bass, and Quincy Phillips on drums. Green also showcased several of his outstanding Peabody students. At the early show, this ensemble was spicier than anything on the Latin-oriented dinner menu.

“Dual Force,” bassist Buster Williams’s uptempo harmonic vehicle, featured a saxophone introduction on a hard-bop melodic conceit that applied raspy accents to Green’s buoyant tone before he embellished the elusive melody in the muscle-flexing manner of, say, alto sax icon Jackie McLean. The drums pushed the tempo with active cymbals and bass pedal thumping, while Funn plucked frenetic bass notes in sync with his animated head and shoulder movements.

Brewer’s bluesy piano comping framed a spacious solo break on “Dual Force,” with linear riffs buffeted by melodic tinkling. The versatile Brewer switched to the B-3 organ on “New Melodies,” Green’s wistful original tune, creating a churchy feel with nuanced organ tones. Throughout, the drummer deftly punctuated the rhythmic flow, including the use of  a spiral cymbal. Swirling like an unbroken apple peeling, the dangling spiral cymbal has a cascading timbre that hints of a gong.

This show filled most of the Hemingway Room’s approximately sixty seat capacity. At two tables near me, about a half-dozen young men sat fixated on the stage, unencumbered by food or drinks. I thought nothing of it until one of them, Thomas Schinabeck, was called to the stage, alto sax in hand. As it happens, Tim Green and Kris Funn are on the jazz studies teaching faculty at the Peabody Institute of  Music in Mount Vernon, and the aforesaid young men are their students.

“Humpty Dumpty,” an uptempo number with a quirky rhythm, showed that Shinabeck has learned his lessons well, trading alto sax choruses with Green in a fluent and sure-footed manner. The audience responded with a warm ovation, and a subsequent high-energy tune featured three more of the Peabody students, all talented. Calling the entire roll: Leonardo Zurita, piano, Max Nguyen, alto sax, Lucas Netto, tenor sax, Isaac Felix, guitar, and Indra Carpio-Pretel, piano.

“The Light That Grew Among Us” is Green’s original ballad written in tribute to his mentor, Mulgrew Miller (1955-2013), a great jazz pianist, composer and educator. Green soloed with feeling, displaying a beautiful tone on a mournful alto sax. I once saw Green and Miller in performance together at the Caton Castle. Now the student has become the teacher.

The Hemingway Room’s spring jazz series continues with a focus on up-and-coming artists such as the Peabody students Dorsey siblings: Ephraim (tenor sax) and Ebban (alto sax), drummer Jo Palmer, pianist Luther Allison, and trumpeter Theljon Allen. Scheduling and tickets are readily available via The Sonic Lifeline’s website. Come on out and participate in our vibrant jazz community.  

Gregory L. Lewis is a longtime Baltimore attorney whose jazz reflections are archived at  

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