Kollage with a K. Nice switch if one wants to give the word a harder edge. Better still if it works. And it certainly does with this outfit! The pulse of the group has a steely flint, even as it is shaped with a strong melodic instinct and the ability to swing. Alleyne has been a staple of the Canadian jazz scene for well over 50 years, interrupted in the seventies while he pursued the role of restaurateur. Within those decades are encapsulated experiences that any jazz person would savor. Take a look at some of the luminaries he has played with: Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Chet Baker, Teddy Wilson, Roy Eldridge, Oliver Jones. Those are the times that give a career its hue and make-up. Kollage is co-led by saxophonist Doug Richardson with whom Alleyne played in the fifties before the former moved to the U.S. There is another veteran in Edmonton born bassist Ron Johnston. Rounding out the quintet are Joel Joseph who plays saxophones and Michael Shand, pianist, arranger and the contributor of three original tunes plus one co-written with Richardson. The band feeds deep on the pulse of Horace Silver’s Pyramid, building layers in the ensemble passages. The saxophones delve into swing mode and the piano takes a lighter flow without losing feel or tempo. There is a harder edge to the two Hank Mobley tunes: A Peckasec is propelled not only by a heated solo from Richardson but by Alleyne who shapes and colours the texture of the rhythm; Infraray while looser, sees Richardson, and later Joseph, create some interesting crannies in navigating the tune with a scintillating excursion from Shand a definite plus. Shand’s compositions are underscored by strong melodies. The ambience of Carolyn’s Song is dreamy, yet moody, tangents sharpened by sax and piano. Saturday Morning goes the other way with its euphoric air. The sum of the parts add up to an interesting musical document.
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