J.D. Allen (RED Records: In Search Of J.D. Allen
Housemates. A jazz dynasty is forming in Milan, Italy. Tenorist J.D. Allen appeared on Fabio Morgera’s compelling 1998 release Slick. Morgera returned the favor on In Search Of. In addition, Eric Revis plays bass on both discs. The significance is that such cross-playing realizes RED Records’ Sergio Veschi efforts to build a core of “house” musicians that supports each member when it is his or her turn to play as leader. Veschi conceived a similar scenario on two other recent releases: Bassist Giovanni Tommaso’s Via GT (RED 123233) featured altoist Massimo Urbani. Conversely, Urbani had Tommaso play bass on his The Blessing (CD 123257). The fruit of Veschi efforts are beginning to show with the high quality of the aforementioned discs.
In Search of J.D. Allen is a recital of gently swinging mid-tempo tunes and ballads and all-out end-around runs that are noisy and fun. Allen has a tone closer to Coltrane than Getz, something like Sonny Rollins after a very dry martini. His composing and performing style is an amalgam to the above and manifests itself in short busts of notes and long melodic lines, sheets of sheets...very Wayne Shoterish.
J.D. is as J.D. Does. The opener, “Jaya-Paul”, a breezy Post Bop ballad with an angular solo from Allen and Shedrick Mitchell’s moody accompaniment on piano, typifies the disc. The playing and composition confident and relaxed. Allen wrote all pieces with the exception of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” on which he and the band provide a clear glass skeleton to the “New Thing”. “Little Joe” is a noisy walk down a metropolitan main street. Rodney Green’s drumming is explosive and well-conceived. As on Slick (RED 123278), Fabio Morgera is best on the slow tempo numbers and ballads (“Mudeeya”, “In Search of”). The whole band smokes on the Bebop meets the East “Catch 22” and “Peebow’s Vibe”.
Tenoritis. J.D. Allen is not a ground breaker, but his music is fun. This disc plus Morgera’s Slick make a great companion pac of what Allen (and Morgera) are capable of. This disc is recommended, but get Slick with it.
Track Listing: Jaya-Paul; Omar; Little Joe; Mudeeya; Peebow
Personnel: J.D. Allen: Tenor Saxophone; Fabio Morgera: Trumpet and Flugelhorn; Shedrick Mitchell: Piano; Eric Revis: Bass; Rodney Green: Drums.