Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

190

JD Allen Trio: I AM I AM

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Playing from the heart, creating and improvising from within, jazz music's mantra continues to espouse that "honesty is the best policy." This is heard and felt when listening to saxophonist J.D. Allen's I Am I Am. In an insightful and inspirational interview, the artist gives light to what makes his music forthcoming and real.

Allen's been around for a bit. This is his second recording as a leader, following Pharoah's Children (Criss Cross, 2002). Gaining momentum as a leading voice, he's been heard on Gerald Cleaver's Detroit (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2008) Cindy Blackman's Music For The New Millennium (Sacred Sound Records, 2008), and Jeremy Pelt's November MaxJazz, 2008), it's easy to hear why he's a choice sideman. But as a leader on I Am I Am he absolutely shines.

The ubiquitous trio format has always been an excellent means of group interaction and Allen's performance with Gregg August (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) is a session in trio symbiosis. Listening to the track "Louisada" is all that is needed to understand their rapport.

There is a subtle spiritual connection to the music, some of the track names taken from biblical references: the title, "Hajile" (Elijah spelled backwards) and "Ezekiel." And while the music is similar in understanding to John Coltrane's music spiritual journey, I Am I Am is expressed in Allen's personal experiences and travels.

The opening title track is like a powerful storm, the thunder of Augusts' bass, flashes of lightning from Royston's cymbals and Allen's tenor, the wind. "Titus" is powerful, walking then swinging proudly, pushing the limits of precession, then resuming its initial anthem.

The recording has roots in soul, gospel, and modern post bop but other elements can also be heard (if not overtly): the street corners of Allen's hometown in Detroit, the hustle of New York and Africa's wonder on "The Cross + The Crescent Sickle" where Royston delivers incredible traps and August provides some ethereal bowed string work.

The essence of Allen's voice is in every piece, never overpowering and always in control. His delivery is superb on "Othello," filled with melodism and spirit, in the roll call of great voices of the past and present. There's honesty in this music. You can hear it.

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.

Title: I AM I AM | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Celebrating William Parker at 65 CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Eternal Life CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Tales From A Forbidden Land" CD/LP/Track Review Tales From A Forbidden Land
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "The Joy of Being" CD/LP/Track Review The Joy of Being
by John Sharpe
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "Jondo" CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "The Out Louds" CD/LP/Track Review The Out Louds
by Don Phipps
Published: December 5, 2017

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!