297

JD Allen Trio: I AM I AM

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
JD Allen Trio: I AM I AM 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 Harper and Cindy Blackman, the saxophonist recorded some impressive tracks for Criss Cross records including pianist Orrin Evans' Easy Now (2005) and his own In Search Of... (1999) and Pharoah's Children (2002).

This session is a gutsy trio outing, without a piano or second horn to act as safety net. The compositions are all originals and the recording deftly negotiates a minimalist path inside and out of the Coltrane legacy.

Allen is joined by bassist Gregg August (Ray Vega, Ray Barretto) and drummer Rudy Royston (Fred Hess, Ron Miles). The three interact with intelligence on the ten tracks, six clocking in under five minutes and the longest is "Pagan" at 8:22. Allen takes on Coltrane with the meditative title track, Royston guiding the somber intro via mallets. Never taking this session into the stratosphere is the overriding wisdom of this recording. Allen remains controlled throughout. The Latin side of his playing is showcased on "Louisada" and "Ezekiel" with his flittering sound bouncing lightly across the rhythm of Royston's drumming. The trio evokes an introspective mood on "The Cross + The Crescent Sickle" with the bowed energy notes of August as Royston dances and taps the beat and Allen delivering an Eastern sounding improvisation.

This recording merely scratches the surface that is JD Allen's sound. He doles out sidelong glances in small and very satisfying measures.

Track Listing: I AM--I AM; The North Star; Hajile; Titus; Louisada; id; The Cross + The Crescent Sickle; Othello; Ezekiel; Pagan.

Personnel: JD Allen: tenor saxophone; Gregg August: bass; Rudy Royston: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960 CD/LP/Track Review Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Chapter Five CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read The Hive CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Migration" CD/LP/Track Review Migration
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Juggling Kukla" CD/LP/Track Review Juggling Kukla
by John Sharpe
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Kingdom" CD/LP/Track Review Kingdom
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Leap Of Faith" CD/LP/Track Review Leap Of Faith
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Dharma
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 30, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!