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Talented guitarist Barry Greene comes long way from North Bergen

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

IN TUNE: Growing up in North Bergen, Barry Greene was always known as one of the good guys. And although handsome and happy-go-lucky, he was super-shy. Not anymore.

It was a huge kick to see Barry back in the Northeast recently, still handsome and happy, wowing the crowd at The Bar Next Door on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village.

He was only 10 when he began playing guitar in 1971. His influences include Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, George Benson and Pat Martino.

Barry Greene with the author of this story, Lynn Paret

Barry has recorded or performed with artists as Tim Hagens, Danny Gottlieb, Gene Bertoncinni, Scott Wendholt, Kenny Drew Jr., Adam Nussbaum, Warren Berndhardt, Russell Malone, Ron Affif, and Colin Bailey, among others.

And he has six CDs as a bandleader: “Sojourner,” “At Home,” “Urban Jazz,” “In the Meantime” and the recently released “Barry Greene Trio” and “The Other Side.”

A professor of jazz guitar at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Barry teaches a guitar ensemble, as well as applied guitar, jazz history, improvisation and a course on recording with Pro Tools.

He has also written several books.

Seeing Barry play again after more than three decades was a huge treat. His fingers move so fast, you forget you’re watching a real person.

Add to it Marco Panascia on bass and Jerome Jennings on drums and you do not have your usual jazz trio.

Far from it.

CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo

Panascia attacks the bass in a way that conjures images of some rough intimate play, if you know what I mean. Let’s leave it at that.

Jennings keeps the beat steady for his partners but makes the most of what become very tasteful solos.

Their selections were terrific, too: “What Is This Thing Called Love,” “Darn That Dream,” “Birdlike” and, a real standout, Montgomery’s “Road Song.”

“Road Song”:

It’s such a good feeling these days to look up an old friend from high school and find him or her doing something they absolutely love. In Barry Greene’s case, it’s playing the guitar — masterfully.

He was always amazingly talented. But now Barry sports wisdom and a supreme confidence to go with the killer smile.

After 33 years, I would say he’s certainly come out of his shell.


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