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by Russell Perry
Since Sonny Rollins' landmark recordings in 1957 and 1958 (Way Out West, A Night at the Village Vanguard, Freedom Suite), tenor sax plus bass and drums has been an attractive format for many tenor players. As Michael J. West wrote in Jazz Times when jazz artists ... began experimenting with chordless ensembles in the 1950s, the sax trio became a daring extension of those experiments, and eventually a staple of small-group jazz. The lack of a piano or any other ...read more
by Mackenzie Horne
To describe JD Allen's Barracoon as a great record would give a false impression--though it is in fact a fantastic record. It would be demeaning to only refer to the piece as a great exemplar of post-bop production. This record is more important than that; not only is it significant in terms of Allen's artistic development, but the project also contributes to a larger historical framework. Barracoon frames Allen as a leader, a storyteller, and a historian. ...read more
by Dan Bilawsky
Beneath this tough tenor's exterior rests the most tender of spirits. If you need evidence, just spend some time with Love Stone. After carving out his rightful place at the apex with a series of brilliant piano-less trio outings focused on pithy originals, saxophonist JD Allen recently felt the winds of change in his horn and his habits. He reached a conclusion that originality may sit not in the song's architect but in its possessor, and he ...read more
by Franz A. Matzner
JD Allen is an artist who always delivers. He is also an artist who takes risks, willing to explore his limitations, and then break them; to expose his vulnerabilities, and reflect upon their source and meaning. His experimentation is not obvious. It spirals inwards, orbiting the central axis of jazz, while traversing its various trajectories with elegance, depth, and intense regard to produce deeply personal statements that draw in audiences and listeners like moths to flame. His latest ...read more
by Dan Bilawsky
Many artists seem to move rapidly through different ensemble configurations, as if they're trying to finish off a career to-do list. While it's true that artistic reinvention using various instrumental formats--whether it be an organ group, big band project or Jazz Messengers-style outing--can help an artist gain notice in the trade magazines, using these formats as quick pit stops along the press trail can make for a shallow career that lacks in artistic depth. When an exceptional artist is willing ...read more
by Franz A. Matzner
J.D. Allen Trio Bohemian Caverns Washington, DC February 27, 2010Saxophonist JD Allen's music is an outgrowth of the mystical and transcendental experimentation key jazz musicians undertook in the sixties and seventies. However, unlike many contemporary performers who explore this tradition as a stylistic choice, perhaps driven by admiration for Coltrane's sound, Allen's exploration of this style is founded in his personal experience, musical direction, and deep spiritual sense.
When I am ...read more
by Wilbur MacKenzie
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 ...read more