"LINEAGE" is the work of 27-year-old jazz pianist Benny Green, a promising musician whose fingers never roam far from the blues. Indeed, it's those affecting indigo moods and Green's otherwise unfussy approach to a melody that makes "Lineage" what it is -- a pleasure to hear.
The blues surface repeatedly, first on an insinuating arrangement of the Bobby Timmons trademark "Dat Dere," then in classic 12-bar fashion with the loping "See See Rider," and later on both the Neal Hefti-Count Basie gem "Lil Darlin' " and the elegant "Debo's Waltz." For someone who once accompanied Betty Carter, Green's touch is surprisingly spare and deliberate; as his faithful readings of Bud Powell's "Glass Enclosure" and his solo arrangement of Lerner and Loewe's "If Ever I Would Leave You" indicate, he knows that less is often more when it comes to preserving the quality of a good tune.
It helps, of course, that bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Victor Lewis are on hand to lend sensitive support, and that the obscure Elmo Hope be-bop tune "Crazy" and a personalized reading of Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now" inject a few surprises along the way.