Ben Allison & Medicine Wheel: Buzz (2004)
The next track, "Mauritania," was composed by Blake and features great flute work by Nash, as well as a strong solo by trombonist Clark Gayton (whose work adds a depth to the low end at various points throughout recording). The piece's slow groove seems to demarcate a change in the album’s energy level, however.
Though Andrew Hill's "Erato" brings Allison's bass playing to the fore and the individual parts are still well-performed, the driving force that energized the album's early numbers seems to seep away a bit. Allison's "R&B Fantasy" struggles against the trend with mixed results over its better than seven-minute length. Things grind to a near halt, however, on the album’s last number, a ponderous cover of the Beatles' "Across the Universe" (an admittedly ponderous song to begin with). It's tempting to say the final track is a Buzz killer, but the early tracks are definitely worth a spin. Buzz is uneven, but at its best, it's very, very good.
Track Listing: 1. Respiration 2. Buzz 3. Green Al 4. Mauritania 5. Erato 6. R&B Fantasy 7. Across the Universe
Personnel: Ben Allison, Bass; Michael Blake, Tenor & Soprano Saxophones; Ted Nash, Tenor Saxophone, Flute; Clark Gayton, Trombone, Bass Trombone; Frank Kimbrough, Piano, Wurlitzer, Prepared Piano; Michael Sarin, Drums.
Record Label: Palmetto Records