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The winds of fate blew cold inside a Canadian airport where Brian Allen and Jacob Koller were tied up in red tape. Whatever the lack of merit in that infliction of figurative bondage, it did help to get the two closer together musically.
Allen and Koller are an interesting pair. There is an easy symbiosis, an oft-used term, but one that fits in well with this duo. What makes it all the more relevant is the way they pick up on each other, the mind and the ear tuned to the quick.
Allen roves a wide spectrum. In the quieter moments which are rife in the compositions, he shades the tune with a warm tone that is daubed in pastel shades. But he soon craters that terrain with abrasive jabs that shatter the rhythmic pulse and add a welcome edge. The dynamics are more pronounced on “U Can’t Stop The Train” where the turbulent bent of the trombone is matched by the churning explorations on the piano, quite the contrast to the mood captured becomingly on the gentle, lyrical “Don’t tell Me How To Feel”.
All through Koller proves to be a bountiful foil. He scampers lightly behind the ‘bone and then traipses a step ahead of the beat before falling back again on “Closer”. It is an enticing game, and one that perks interest. Adding to this is the way in which they go on to encircle, probe and dialogue.
Even as Allen and Koller explore diverse sonorities and take to the playing field with odd metres and catapulting sonorities, they gather all the elements and mould them into a nice fit.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.