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Album Review

As talented tenors in the Ben Webster mold, both Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen can easily obtain exciting results fronting their own quartets. Putting exciting musicians together, however, is a guaranteed method of keeping the creative juices flowing and kicking the excitement lever up another notch. Hamilton and Allen do just that on Heavy Juice, an album overflowing with the kind of sax work that would make Zoot Sims and Stan Getz proud. The title track is a breezy, up-tempo number that begins with a snazzy base rhythm laid down by drummer Chuck Riggs, pianist John Bunch, and bassist Dennis Irwin. Allen and Hamilton take turns soloing before entering into an enticing exchange of lead lines that offers just a taste of things to come. While Heavy Juice is an obvious show for the two tenors to cut loose, the band runs a tight ship and never allows melodies to outstay their welcome. Most of the pieces — Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High" and Duke Ellington's "Warm Valley" — run six and seven minutes. Hamilton and Allen also leave room for some fine solo work from Bunch. Heavy Juice closes with a nice, long rendition of Gillespie's "Ow!," bringing a well-executed album to a satisfying end. For anyone who has ever missed Webster and Sims, Heavy Juice will conjure up warm memories. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

Wow.

I given this album by sister and never gave it the time of day until recently. Now I can't stop listening to it. Hamilton and Allen are at their peaks here. Throughout the album they are constantly pushing eachother harder, with the result of amazing soloing all the way through. This should definitely be listed among the top jazz albums produced.

Biography

Born: October 12, 1966 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Fathers serious about seeing their sons one day becoming famous athletes begin developing their offspring's skills at a very young age. In the case of Harry Allen's father, who was a big-band drummer, he played jazz records each day for Harry before he went off to kindergarten. Starting off with accordion lessons, there was a fortuitous switch to saxophone later. Attending Rutgers University, Allen studied saxophone with Sahib Shihab, Bob Mintzer, and John Purcell. In 1989, he graduated from Rutgers...
Full Bio
Heavy Juice, Harry Allen
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Contemporaries