Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » JD Allen: Love Stone


JD Allen: Love Stone


Sign in to view read count
JD Allen: Love Stone
Beneath this tough tenor's exterior rests the most tender of spirits. If you need evidence, just spend some time with Love Stone.

After carving out his rightful place at the apex with a series of brilliant piano-less trio outings focused on pithy originals, saxophonist JD Allen recently felt the winds of change in his horn and his habits. He reached a conclusion that originality may sit not in the song's architect but in its possessor, and he came to an understanding that the most outside experiences may actually be connected to the greatest acts of looking inward. So rather than cast his own pen in a new light again, Allen took to the challenge of investing his strong-willed spirit into a series of time-tested ballads. The results are simply breathtaking.

Working with his acclaimed trio—featuring bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston—and rounding out the group with guitarist Liberty Ellman, Allen explores nine vintage titles. He cuts right to the heart—both of song and receiver—while remaining true to himself in the process. Perhaps his success in navigating these chestnuts is related to his deep immersion in their lyrics. Or maybe it's just a reflection of his signature directness.

Opening with a flowing "Stranger Of Paradise" that, at just over six minutes, stands as the album's longest track, Allen proves that sensitivity buoyed by strength may be the best salve to heal what ails us today and always. The eight tracks that follow continue to make that point without ever treading over flattened ground. With masterful use of space, suggestion, and, of course, sound, Allen and company deliver one masterpiece after another—an "Until The Real Thing Comes Along" with an after-hours vibe, a "Put On A Happy Face" with a wide beat and artfully incisive Allen and Ellman statements, a "Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)" that's the musical embodiment of downcast beauty, and a handful of others. There's not a wasted second from start to finish on Love Stone. To say this is a consequential recording would be truth framed in understatement; to call it essential would be far more accurate.

Track Listing

Stranger in Paradise; Until the Real Thing Comes Along; Why Was I Born?; You're My Thrill; Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies; Put on a Happy Face; Prisoner of Love; Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You); Gone With the Wind.


JD Allen
saxophone, tenor

JD Allen: tenor saxophone, Liberty Ellman: guitar; Gregg August: bass; Rudy Royston: drums.

Album information

Title: Love Stone | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Savant Records

< Previous
Alive In The East?

Next >
Empty Castles



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Where Did You Go?
Sandman Project
Moritz Stahl
The Cold Arrow
Gregorio / Smith / Bryerton
Nicole McCabe


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.