Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
478

Ben Allison - Action-Refraction (Palmetto Records, 2011)

SOURCE:

Sign in to view read count Views
Ben Allison
Bassist and composer Ben Allison has been at the forefront of the modern jazz scene as a band leader and the driving force behind the (now sadly defunct) Jazz Composers Collective and Herbie Nichols Project. Although widely respected as a composer, on this album he turns the tables, covering the music of other artists for the most part, and including aspects of progressive rock into his palette.

He is accompanied on this album by Michael Blake on bass clarinet and tenor saxophone, Steve Cardenas and Brandon Seabrook on guitar, Jason Lindner on synthesizer and piano and Rudy Royston on drums. Opening up with Thelonious Monk's “Jackie-ing" the group slowly develops an ominous melody around saxophone and electric guitar with rock-ish drums building to a strong full band climax. Strong drums and guitar lock in on “Missed" with Blake's saxophone developing a personal sandpaper toned feel. The group develops a dynamic loud/soft dynamic (akin to Ahmad Jamal, or Nirvana for that matter) that comes to a hard conclusion.

“Someday We'll All Be Free" is spacious and open with electric piano over slow building saxophone and drums. Guitar undercurrents build under the saxophone in a subversive manner, before the band builds deeply around a repetitive saxophone riff. Neil Young's “Philadelphia" is taken at a slow, mournful tempo with just guitar, bass and drums, while “St. Ida's Vision" changes the game completely with slow bass and moody synthesizer creating a weird musical atmosphere. The unusual mix of bass, drums and synth hints at progressive rock as well as modern classical music.

The Carpenters “We've Only Just Begun" seems and odd choice for a jazz album, but it really works quite well as a feature for Michael Blake, whose unique tone and musical vision allow him to use the melodic material at hand to develop a strong solo statement. Royston shines too with excellent support on drums as the music alternates between funky and near-free. The band closes the album with the sole Allison original, “Broken," which has Linder again return to synthesizer for arrangement and texture around a swirling guitar and drum vamp.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of Music and More by Tim Niland.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

Events

Date Event Time Tickets
Aug31Wed Ben Allison
Mezzrow Jazz Club
New York, NY
9:30 pm
Oct5Wed Ben Allison
SmallsLIVE at Brasserie Ruhlmann
New York, NY
9:00 pm
Oct15Sat Ben Allison
Jazz at Kitano New York
New York, NY
8:00 pm
Oct19Wed Ben Allison
Smoke Jazz & Supper Club-Lounge
New York, NY
9:00 pm
Oct20Thu Ben Allison
Smoke Jazz & Supper Club-Lounge
New York, NY
9:00 pm
Mar21Mon Ben Allison
Birdland
New York, NY
8:30 pm

  • D.A.V.E.
    D.A.V.E.
    Ben Allison
    The Stars Look Very Different...
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Stars Look Very Different Today
The Stars Look Very...
Sonic Camera Records
2014
buy
Union Square
Union Square
ABeat
2012
buy
Action-Refraction
Action-Refraction
Palmetto Records
2011
buy
Think Free
Think Free
Palmetto Records
2010
buy
Little Things Run The World
Little Things Run The...
Palmetto Records
2008
buy
Cowboy Justice
Cowboy Justice
Palmetto Records
2006
buy
Kenny Garrett Kenny Garrett
sax, alto
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
Brad Mehldau Brad Mehldau
piano
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Dave Douglas Dave Douglas
trumpet
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Kurt Elling Kurt Elling
vocalist

Shop For Jazz

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.