J.D. Allen: Shine! (2009)
Shine! is the second Sunnyside release by saxophonist JD Allen and his trio with bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston. A Detroit native, Allen has been based in New York for quite a few years now, working with bassist Ron Carter, saxophonist David Murray, trumpeter Lester Bowie and drummers Jack DeJohnette and Cindy Blackman.
Allen's assertive tone and the openness of his orchestration maintain a distinct, focused directionality on each track. "Son House," "Marco Polo" and "Variation" call to mind the entire tradition of sax/bass/drums trios, from Sonny Rollins to Steve Lacy to David Murray. The Ornette Coleman-inspired "East Boogie" expands and flows freely, without compromising the integrity of the time-feel and clear tonal center set up by the head. August's wonderful tone is most evident on "Set'lah" and "Teo (Ted's Theme)" and Royston's contributions flow with intensity and sensitivity throughout.
No tune on the record strays far past the five-minute mark, the goal being to spread a wide range of moods and colors from one track to the next, rather than packing an array of contrasting ideas into a single extended work. Allen cites the long-lost "juke box mentality" as the precedent for his emphasis on brevity, which not only attests to his reverence for the artists who've influenced him, but also mirrors newer mp3-influenced trends in music. In an era focused on eclecticism and verbose musical demonstrations, Allen's music celebrates the strict path of continuously refining and enriching a vision that is firmly rooted in the tradition of adventurous jazz.
Track Listing: Esre; Sonhouse; Conjuration of Angles; Marco Polo; Shine; The Laughing Bell; East Boogie (Kolby's Theme); Ephraim; Angel; Teo (Ted's Theme); Se'lah; Variation.
Personnel: J.D. Allen: saxophone; Gregg August: acoustic bass; Rudy Royston: drums.