181

Ben Allison & Medicine Wheel: Buzz

By

Sign in to view read count
Ben Allison & Medicine Wheel: Buzz Despite its moderate tempo, "Respiration," the opening track on Buzz, sets an insistent tone that drives the album’s first three tracks. Bassist Ben Allison penned all three charts, which feature tight, energetic ensemble playing by the six-piece band as well as plenty of open space for improvisation, including a textured piano solo by Frank Kimbrough on "Respiration" and a blistering tenor solo by either Michael Blake or Ted Nash (the promo copy of the disc does not specify) on "Buzz." The third track, "Green Al," is an upbeat bluesy tenor feature that has the sort of undeniable appeal of which standards are made. Michael Sarin provides much of the energy on these numbers with his varied, driving drumming, but a clear kinetic sound emanates from each member of the band.

The next track, "Mauritania," was composed by Blake and features great flute work by Nash, as well as a strong solo by trombonist Clark Gayton (whose work adds a depth to the low end at various points throughout recording). The piece's slow groove seems to demarcate a change in the album’s energy level, however.

Though Andrew Hill's "Erato" brings Allison's bass playing to the fore and the individual parts are still well-performed, the driving force that energized the album's early numbers seems to seep away a bit. Allison's "R&B Fantasy" struggles against the trend with mixed results over its better than seven-minute length. Things grind to a near halt, however, on the album’s last number, a ponderous cover of the Beatles' "Across the Universe" (an admittedly ponderous song to begin with). It's tempting to say the final track is a Buzz killer, but the early tracks are definitely worth a spin. Buzz is uneven, but at its best, it's very, very good.


Track Listing: 1. Respiration 2. Buzz 3. Green Al 4. Mauritania 5. Erato 6. R&B Fantasy 7. Across the Universe

Personnel: Ben Allison, Bass; Michael Blake, Tenor & Soprano Saxophones; Ted Nash, Tenor Saxophone, Flute; Clark Gayton, Trombone, Bass Trombone; Frank Kimbrough, Piano, Wurlitzer, Prepared Piano; Michael Sarin, Drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Palmetto Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Swan Song" CD/LP/Track Review Swan Song
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Allison Philips Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Allison Philips Trio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Prospect" CD/LP/Track Review Prospect
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "This Is Where I Live" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Where I Live
by James Nadal
Published: June 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!