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CD/LP/Track Review

Brian Allen: Solo Trombone

By Published: July 1, 2001
Brian Allen is from Lake Jackson, Texas where part of this solo trombone album was recorded. He studied with some of the masters of avant-garde /free jazz such as Roswell Rudd and Ellery Eskelin. To state the obvious, solo trombone albums are not everyday occurrences and it takes a good deal of self-assurance to but one out on a CD. The leading practitioner is German avant-garde trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff with his CDs, Tromboneliness and Solo. These efforts, among others, encouraged Allen to move ahead with this project.

The play list has all Allen compositions. Many styles and tempi are represented. "Planes" is a plaintive ballad. There's humor in "Loco March" where Allen tests the range of the slide instrument, from very high to way down at the bottom. Several of the cuts swing mightily and Allen can certainly swing. Allen's trombone wails sometimes resemble whale callings that were incorporated into "And God Created White Whales" by American classical composer Alan Hovhaness.

Fifty minutes of solo trombone is a lot to take for most. I guess one has to have a special empathy for the instrument to fully appreciate what Allen is doing. There are all sorts of noises coming from his instrument that I have never heard, such as gurgling sounds to something akin to blowing one's nose. But no question, this man is a virtuoso. What he now needs to do is to cut an album that will attract a larger group than students of the trombone. This album may be obtained by an email Allen at bka4@juno. com or through his Internet site at http://homestead.juno.com/bka4/brian.html.

Record Label: Braintone Records

Style: Modern Jazz



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