Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mike Allen "Just Like Magic"

A new name to me, Mike Allen brings forth a very stately tenor sound rich in tradition. In this pianoless setting, Allen joins forces with two monsters of the Gotham midway, Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. You might remember a certain tenor player who was among the pioneers of a pianoless group; his name is Sonny Rollins. Allen and friends open with a Duke Pearson rarity, a medium tempo entry called "Big Bertha". The spirit of John Coltrane lurks nearby, as Allen and company perform a standard associated with Coltrane, "A Weaver Of Dreams", and "Miles' Mode", a Trane original. Two additional standards very reverently approached here are the Gershwin evergreen "Someone To Watch Over Me" and Duke Ellington's classic, "Solitude". Allen also delivers the goods with a few more of his creations in varying tempos and moods. The trio closes with a rarely heard Charles Mingus tune called "Jelly Roll". One might say that Mike Allen combines a sense of jazz and bop tradition with a contemporary creative edge. I think you'll find that it all works out very nicely.
Cellar Live; 2019; appx. 60 min.

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