Every new musical expedition undertaken by tenor saxophonist JD Allen serves to solidify his reputation as one of the finest, most adventurous young musicians playing today. Victory!--a superb collection of short works--is no exception. With a gently swinging, ponderous vibrato he weaves his way into territory that he has charted for himself. The rebellious yell of his voice finds fortuitous echo in the elemental sadness of the blues, the solemnity of gospel and ultimately in the joyful recapitulation of life itself. Allen plays in phrases and musical sentences that are moist and somewhat short, but always interconnected in a Hemingway-like ...read more
Playing from the heart, creating and improvising from within, jazz music's mantra continues to espouse that honesty is the best policy." This is heard and felt when listening to saxophonist J.D. Allen's I Am I Am. In an insightful and inspirational interview, the artist gives light to what makes his music forthcoming and real. Allen's been around for a bit. This is his second recording as a leader, following Pharoah's Children (Criss Cross, 2002). Gaining momentum as a leading voice, he's been heard on Gerald Cleaver's Detroit (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2008) Cindy Blackman's Music For The New ...read more
JD Allen can be a powerhouse, hard-driving tenor, but he is also capable of great subtlety and versatility. All three qualities are amply in evidence on I AM I AM, and were also front and center in a performance of his piano-less trio in March, 2008 at New York's Jazz Standard to mark the release of the recording. Allen has picked his partners wisely. Bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston are canny interpreters of the ten Allen originals on the CD and complement his tenor voice throughout. Like their leader, they know when to hang back ...read more
Face it, if you play the tenor saxophone you're going to have to deal with the legacy of John Coltrane's sound. You can hear it in the playing of Branford Marsalis, Pharoah Sanders, and even Sonny Rollins. It is believed that Rollins was so influenced by Trane, that his style was forever changed in the 1960s. But we'll leave that argument to scholars. On I Am I Am the thirty-something JD Allen takes on the Coltrane legacy and leaves us with a beautiful impression of, not only Coltrane, but himself.
After apprenticing with singer Betty Carter, drummers Winard ...read more
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