Trombonist/composer Brian Allen aligns himself with the creme de la creme of New York City jazz musicians on this bass-less trio date. Synapse
is a cleverly articulated effort; Allen nimbly handles the lower (bass line) register while toggling between his leadership and soloing duties. During nip and tuck dialogues, the band navigates an abundance of disparate time signatures.
Tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby pronounces fire and brimstone during most of this session as the band follows by an evolutionary process drenched with interleaving exchanges. However, Malaby does lessen the gritty, hard-nosed environs on occasion, during an assortment of sublime thematic forays. Otherwise, Allen is a fiery soloist, while drummer Tom Rainey peppers and prods the band via snappy, asymmetrical pulses and polyrhythmic off-beats.
Complete with jagged flows and intensive three-way improvisation, Synapse finds the musicians digging deep from within. On this democratic engagement, everyone involved embarks upon a similar plane. For example, Allen's blitzing notes on "Alphren are counterbalanced by Rainey's call and response techniques, largely performed on the snare drum and hi-hat. In addition, the unit's intuitive interactions are steeped within rising tides and descending undercurrents. It's a strong date, often empowered by the artists' collective ability to get to the point, make a statement or two, then back off and redirect energies into newer frontiers.
Personnel: Brian Allen: trombone; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Tom Rainey: drums.