Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

331

Ben Allison: Peace Pipe

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Enough already with labeling bassist Ben Allison in the "talent-deserving-wider- recognition" classification. He has certainly arrived, or at least he has made it without all the young lion baggage.

His carry on luggage includes establishing the Jazz Composers Collective ten years ago, a musician-run, non-profit dedicated to creative musicians new and inventive endeavors. Along with Frank Kimbrough, he has resurrected the somewhat lost music of the genius composer Herbie Nichols. Allison's Riding The Nuclear Tiger and the Herbie Nichols Project Strange City gained recognition on many critical top ten release list last year. He seems to have a way of playing jazz as a natural extension of his years. In other words, music by and for thirty-somethings, instead of thirty-somethings playing music from thirty-some-years-ago.

Peace Pipe plots a twist from the road traveled by Allison's band. Then it doesn't (let's get there a little later). He assembles his usual cast of Frank Kimbrough, Tomas Ulrich and Michael Blake and invites kora player Mamadou Diabate into his band. Diabate's kora, an African string instrument, sounds like a mix between a harp and a sitar. Widely used today in African pop music, the Kora initially raises your "uh-oh, world music coming" defenses. But Allison calms your fears with a rather seamless interaction between the New Yorkers and Diabate from Mali.

Of special note here is the playing of saxophonist Michael Blake. His horn has graced sessions with the downtown band Lounge Lizards and this year released what might be the best record of the year, Elevated (Knitting Factory). Blake draws from repetitive lines and extended forms, not in angry waves but with sheer gracefulness.

Peace Pipe is about extending the concept of jazz as Duke Ellington once did, by drawing from surrounding forms but never disguising your purpose. In fact Allison utilizes Ellington as inspiration on the opener "Third Rail" from the NY subway system and later plays a very Ellingtonian tribute on "Realization," with his arrangement.

Allison could be considered a modern version of Charles Mingus with his heavily folk- influenced music. Allison's folk is that of Neil Young "Goin' Back" and Jamaican inspiration on the title track. He even shows a reggae connection with his arrangement of Diabate's composition "Dakan." The folkish nature of this music allows for this unusual (to jazz) kora sound to fly under the radar or at least, easily fit within the themes spun here. Just as Eric Dolphy introduced the bass clarinet or Dewey Redman the musette to jazz, the kora finds a welcome home.


Track Listing: Third Rail; Slap Happy; Peace Pipe; Dakan; Goin' Back; Disposable Genius; Music Is Music; Realization; Mantra.

Personnel: Ben Allison: bass; Mamadou Diabate: kora; Michael Blake: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Frank Kimbrough: piano, prepared piano, Wurlitzer Organ; Michael Sarin: drums; Peter Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone (1,6,8); Tomas Ulrich: cello (1,6).

Title: Peace Pipe | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Palmetto Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Cycles of Animation" CD/LP/Track Review Cycles of Animation
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 24, 2017
Read "Point and Line" CD/LP/Track Review Point and Line
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach" CD/LP/Track Review The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Of Tides" CD/LP/Track Review Of Tides
by John Eyles
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Trail Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Trail Magic
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 19, 2017