One of the remarkable things about jazz is how elegant it can sound at its most minimalist. When Duke Ellington, Max Roach and Charles Mingus created the legendary Money Jungle in 1963, they made magic with nothing more than piano, bass and drums. And in 2016, pianist Vijay Iyer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith created a sparse yet breathtaking set of music with no percussion or additional instrumentation titled A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, proving there's still a lot to be explored within such a presumably limited range of sound.
That being said, there's also something magical about jazz when it's expanded and magnified into something much more grandiose. Local pianist Danny Green wasn't thinking small when he made One Day It Will, which builds on the sounds of his ensemble's post-bop and Brazilian jazz influences and adds a widescreen application of full string arrangements. It amounts to something that's not quite traditional jazz, but still maintains that classic character even while expanding into something bigger and more ornate.
The leadoff track "Time Lapse to Fall" begins beautifully and gently, with repetitive pulses of piano that sound like they'd be perfect in the opening credits for a film. But when the strings come in, it grows more intriguing. It's a tasteful use of strings and never sounds too cluttered or over-produced. Rather, there's a stunning interplay between Green's piano playing and how the stringed instruments harmonize with him.
What's interesting about One Day It Will is that while the arrangements are more elaborate and intricate than they would have been if this were simply left to the Danny Green Trio, they remain subtle, almost subliminal. Much of the credit certainly goes to Green as a composer, who doesn't just know how to create a compelling piece of music, but understands how best to use each instrument. It's an album of large-ensemble jazz that ends up feeling surprisingly intimate, which isn't always an easy thing to pull off.