From the Producer:

In 2004 I moved from New York to Atlanta. After six years of consulting work in the health field, it was time for a change. For a while, I considered opening a jazz club, and, as part of my due diligence, I researched a trio as a possible house band. All points led to pianist Kevin Bales. I finally had a chance to hear him at the Atrium of the High Museum of Art. Bales sounded great, though the acoustics were horrible and he was playing an electric piano that more resembled an oversized child’s toy. For various reasons, I decided against opening a jazz club, but I wanted to hear Bales again, especially in a setting where I could hear him play a real instrument.

That opportunity came at a concert at the Gainesville Arts Center. By then I had channeled all my jazz longings into producing the Complete Works of Pepper Adams. I had chosen Jeremy Kahn’s trio for the first date. Gary Smulyan, with a trio to be determined, was slated to be my second session, and a New York-based sextet, led by Frank Basile, was the third. I was looking for a fourth band with a guitarist, to round out the collection, and to give me a different contextualization of Adams’ tunes.

The night in Gainesville was absolute magic! Bales had everything: beautifully flowing lines, harmonic daring, a tremendous sense of time, a take-charge attitude with the rhythm section, an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz’s vocabulary. I rushed up to Kevin, immediately after the first set, told him how terrific I thought he was, said he was “exactly what I was looking for,” and, during intermission, we discussed my Pepper Adams project. Since that night, I’ve heard Kevin many times, and I’m always amazed by his playing. A few gigs really stand out. At the Jazz Corner in Hilton Head, Bales played my request of Thad Jones’ A Child Is Born that silenced the audience and brought me to tears. At Ray’s at Killer Creek (in Roswell), I sat on a bar stool with my head literally inside the baby grand, so I could hear every voicing. At one point, during the group’s performance of In a Sentimental Mood, Bales paraphrased Duke Ellington’s accompaniment to John Coltrane from the 1962 recording of the tune. And then there was one night at The Fieldhouse, a restaurant in Dacula, Georgia, where trumpeter Ken Watters worked with various rhythm sections for about a half a year until management tired of the format. That night, in front of ten people in the audience, Kevin played some of the most dazzling piano playing I’ve ever heard—and it was on his electric piano! Ken and I looked at each other, shaking our heads, smiling, in disbelief, while Kevin played an uptempo solo of extraordinary power.

I was very excited about having Kevin Bales put his stamp on a group of Pepper Adams compositions. When we started planning for the date, I reiterated that I was looking for a guitarist to round out the group. Bales recommended New Jersey born guitarist, Barry Greene. I’d never heard of Greene, but, after visiting Jacksonville to hear Greene with organist Scott Giddens, I saw that he was held with much the same veneration as Bales. Bales had described Greene’s playing as “incomparable,” and “in his own category, above all the rest.” I’ve heard a lot of great guitarists, and I play the instrument myself, so I mean no disrespect to a lot of great players, but I have to agree with Bales. Guitarists take note: Greene is the world’s greatest jazz guitarist. Still based in Jacksonville, still somewhat of an underground player, this recording should help change that.

While this album showcases the extraordinary playing of Bales and Greene, solo space is also given to bass and drums. The night I heard Bales at the High Museum, bassist Rodney Jordan and drummer Leon Anderson were in the group and Jordan was dazzling. I knew he’d be perfect on the date, plus Kevin had worked with Jordan for over ten years, first as part of his trio in Florida, and more recently as part of singer René Marie’s working quartet. Leon Anderson was also a logical choice, because of Kevin and Rodney’s longstanding work with him. Jordan and Anderson both teach at Florida State University in Tallahassee, and Kevin’s first choice of pianos was Marcus Roberts’ Steinway that is permanently housed in Les Stephenson’s living room/studio in Tallahassee, so everything fell easily into place.

Kevin and I drove down separately from Atlanta to Stephenson’s house, Barry drove in from Jacksonville, and, in two days, all the music for this session was done. In my opinion, this album features the playing of two giants of jazz: Kevin Bales and Barry Greene. Kevin can be heard on his own gigs in the Southeastern U.S., throughout the world as the music director of René Marie’s exciting quartet, and on two recent René Marie recordings for Motéma Music. You can keep up with Kevin’s activity at Barry Greene’s teaching duties at the University of North Florida keep him in place most of the year, but, he does small group gigs in Jacksonville, often with the excellent bassist Dennis Marks. A trip to hear him is well worth it. You can contact Barry about his gigs at

Gary Carner
August 2012

   1.Cindy’s Tune  
2.Lovers of Their Time
3.Twelfth and Pingree
4.Ad Astra
5.Like . . . What Is This
7.Claudette’s Way
8.Mary’s Blues
      Kevin Bales, Piano
      Barry Greene, Guitar
      Rodney Jordan, Bass
      Leon Anderson, Drums

      Les Stephenson, Recording Engineer
      John Larson, Mixing Engineer
      Gary Carner, Producer

      Recorded at Les Stephenson Studio in Tallahassee FL, February 3-4, 2007