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Album Review

On the tenor saxophone, J.D. Allen is becoming a musician without peer as he continually refines his phrasings and voicings. To his credit, he's taking the lessons taught to all tenor players by Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane, developing his own personal brand of modern mainstream and progressive jazz. Like Rollins, he's adopted the pianoless trio here, again joining rising star bassist Gregg August and emerging young drummer Rudy Royston on this follow-up to the recording I Am I Am to make mercurial, liquid, and lithe original music. The trio plays jazz that is diverse within concise structured parameters, with only two selections over five minutes. The title track is serene, soulful, and patient, "Angel" is an easy blues/swing with no histrionics, "Se'Lah" a soul ballad with calming null spaces, and "Ephraim" is spatial and spiritual in a no-time concept. The group and Allen ramp it up for the drum bashing and sax honking to free and hard bopping "Esre!," go into a solid Rollins-esque churning bop for "Marco Polo" that is short and to the point, cop the Rollins calypso groove dance style on a very hip "Sonhouse," and eschew soulful Ornette Coleman-like lines with August's bass interludes during "Teo." More like Coltrane on the flowing "The Laughing Bell" and hard bopping "Variation," Allen and his band know exactly when to lay back or charge hard. Though the leader composed this program, there is one track penned by Butch Morris, "Conjuration of Angels," where August's strummed bass and the light rolling rhythms from Royston keep the pot simmering. This is a unique project in that Allen has tapped into many sources, but is not beholden to any one, and he deserves credit for taking chances instead of offering a homogenized approach. It is also perhaps one of the first CD's to not offer written liner notes (authored by Ben Waltzer) on the booklet, but instead has included them embedded in the disc, accessible if you possess PDF capability on your PC or Mac unit. (P.S.: this session was recorded on the 11th of May and November — wonder why?) ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Top Albums and Songs by JD Allen Trio

Shine!, JD Allen Trio
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 16 June 2009

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