Power. Intensity. Passion
The Savant debut for one of the fastest rising stars in jazz saxophone finds JD Allen doing a riff on himself with a somewhat conceptualized release entitled The Matador And The Bull. Joined by Gregg August on bass and Rudy Royston on drums, Allen channels the passion and fury of his interest in bullfighting with the eclectic yet practical application to life on and off the stage. The end result is a release full of texture, melody and harmonic variation but never losing itself within itself.
While Allen is not what one would consider a newbie, his last release was critically acclaimed and sent his musical stock soaring. The Matador And The Bull is exceptional and the growth shown by Allen and his trio in such a short amount of time is incredible. The one knock Allen has unfairly received is that his tunes are relatively short. Jazz is about passion and you never put a stop watch on the artistic soul. There are a half dozen players that would be well advised to follow Allen's creative lead. Allen sums it up best, "...You should be able to tell your story in a few choruses and get out." Self indulgent and pretentious are two words you will never hear associated with Allen.
Allen is accessible yet adventourous here as he navigates a musical happy place somewhere between early Sonny Rollins and a delightful Ornette Coleman like edge to some tunes. Critics like musicians have stock phrases and here Allen makes old school new cool with this most formidable of trios.
In keeping with the Allen philosophy of saying what you need to say and getting out, I will end here. Flair, preceision and a deceptively subtle funk round out one of the most impressive releases for 2012.
5 Easy Stars!
Tracks: The Matador And The Bull (Torero); A Suit Of Lights; Ring Shout; Santa Maria (Mother); Cathedral; Paseillo; Erlanger; Pinyin; Vuela (The Whisperer); The Lyrics Of Summer And Shadow; Muleta; The Matador And The Bull (Toro).
Personnel: JD Allen: tenor saxophone; Greg August: bass; Rudy Royston: drums.