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Scott Dolan

J.D. Allen

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Does anyone else here listen to Mr. Allen at all? I did a search, but came up with nothing.

I got his debut album, In Search Of, the other night and sat and gave it a really close listen last night. I'll have to give it another listen, but my first impressions are that he kinda sounds like he's trying really hard to be some kind of weird hybrid of Coltrane and Rollins, yet doesn't really succeed. That said, I found myself thoroughly enjoying his attempt. Of course, I also had to keep in mind this was his debut as a leader, and there is some definite promise there. With the exception of one avant garde-lite track which I found rather messy and pointless, the cat sounds like a keeper.

I'm looking forward to diving into more material. Anyone else dig him?

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I have his last few albums as a leader and really dig them, have also enjoyed his playing as a sideman with Jeremy Pelt's group and also with Allen Lowe.

It's hard for me to put my finger on what i like about him... in many ways i could see a lot of people taking a pass on him, as i did for many years. I don't think he'll blow you away based on 30 second snippets or even listening to a full track here or there. I can't think of a song i could post in a "listen to this" way that would blow anyone away. He's not creating interview jazz but he has something going on and i dig his flavour.

What's really cemented me as a fan of his is his quartet album from 2013, Grace. It's a masterpiece, IMO. Have been hanging out for the follow up, to the point where it's pretty much my most anticipated album of the year, and i see that Bloom is now available for preorder, however no word on the line up, which i'm very much hoping will be the same as Grace. If it's not, i may pass. The chemistry in that group is amazing, everyone shines.

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Yeah, I actually found out about him by reading through many "best of 2013" lists for Jazz albums. It seemed like Grace was at, or near, the top of every last one. But, I always hate to get into a cats latest/greatest without hearing some of the earlier material first. Heard a little bit of the trio album that came before that (The Bull And The Matador, I think it was called), and that sounded fantastic.

But, In Search Of was just a really odd experience. After the first couple of tunes I was thinking, "is this cat serious?!" But then the further I got into it, the more I was just simply enjoying what I was listening to.

But, it's nice to know you've heard a lot more of him and still can't put your finger on what makes his music so appealing. Now I don't feel so bad for my confusion concerning him.

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Interesting, i actually thought that Grace was a bit slept on. I might have to pull back now because i don't want to contribute to it being perceived as overhyped! :) For me it's an album that doesn't look that interesting on paper but whenever i listen to it i just can't deny how much i enjoy it. Maybe that sums up my feelings on Allen in general.

Grace has a different vibe to his trio stuff, you could like one but not the other etc. I don't know if it'll be up your alley but if you're wanting to form a picture of Allen i suggest checking out, along with his trio stuff, The Talented Mr Pelt; it's the album that piqued my interest.

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From what little I heard from Grace it did indeed sound like it's right up my alley.

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He's one of those folks that I respect the hell out because they're still finding new-ish ways to work with an older-ish vocabulary, and at the same time and by the same token one of those guys I can't really love, for that same reason.

For me, form, ensemble texture, and group rhythm are the final frontiers (such as they are either final or frontiers). Not a whole helluva lot of people are really pushing any of those frontiers today and still being classified as "jazz". Maybe "jazz" is at once its own problem and its own solution, but ever since Branford decreed that Fathead was not a jazz musician, I'm like, ok, then, thanks for the tip, ALL bets are off now. Lots of perceived obligations now removed/relieved of, lots.

But still and all, J.D. Allen is a very serious player/musician, and I fully respect him. And I'm pretty piqued by what Jeremy Pelt's drummer is up to. But, I dunno, I respect lots of people, and truly love everybody. But the number of people I like...maybe not so many.

Same thing with J.D. Clampett & J.D. Parran for that matter, although more edge has been on the latter from the git-go, so adjust significantly accordingly, ok?.

However, this is great:

and hello Raymond Bailey!

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Can't listen right now, Allen. But, thanks! Can't wait to hear them on my big boy pants system. ;)

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He's one of those folks that I respect the hell out because they're still finding new-ish ways to work with an older-ish vocabulary, and at the same time and by the same token one of those guys I can't really love, for that same reason.

For me, form, ensemble texture, and group rhythm are the final frontiers (such as they are either final or frontiers). Not a whole helluva lot of people are really pushing any of those frontiers today and still being classified as "jazz". Maybe "jazz" is at once its own problem and its own solution, but ever since Branford decreed that Fathead was not a jazz musician, I'm like, ok, then, thanks for the tip, ALL bets are off now. Lots of perceived obligations now removed/relieved of, lots.

But still and all, J.D. Allen is a very serious player/musician, and I fully respect him. And I'm pretty piqued by what Jeremy Pelt's drummer is up to. But, I dunno, I respect lots of people, and truly love everybody. But the number of people I like...maybe not so many.

Same thing with J.D. Clampett & J.D. Parran for that matter, although more edge has been on the latter from the git-go, so adjust significantly accordingly, ok?.

However, this is great:

and hello Raymond Bailey!

The areas of form, rhythm and related nuances of music are being thoroughly investigated in the "downtown" scene. All of these musics are well within the confines of jazz to my ears. Capricorn Climber is a good example as are various Maneri led ensembles one of which I will experience on the 29th of this month.

Certainly these experiments with form and or lack of such is a well worn area of many attempts going back to Air and other avant music of the 70's. I find that these are the most exciting current areas if exploration in current jazz. I am blessed to have opportunity to witness it often. Another great example was hearing the trio of Mat Maneri, Craig Taborn and Ches Smith. Easily fits under the jazz umbrella although it was almost doom metal in intensity when the trio locked into grooves and anti-grooves.

Plus I go back to the William Parker quartet with Drake. Still no other band playing anything like it. Live it can be spectacularly exciting as it was on two nights this past October.

Malaby's ever changing band with Monder and Waits is another prime example of something that doesn't sound like any other ensemble I've heard.

Gerald Cleavers Black Host for another

Edited by Steve Reynolds

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J.D. Allen is a monster talent. His album "Victory!" from a couple of years back is in constant play rotation. Great album.

LWayne

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I know the downtown scene, and used to be interested. It's "now" sure, but it's been "now" for, what, 20 years now? 30? More?

Threadgill, yes, always. Ripples of Threadgill (and etc.)...ripples. The closer to the origination point they are, good. The further out they go, hey.

My life and my appetites run at two different speeds. Having learned to somewhat control them each does not mean that I have brought them both under the same control. Different wagons hitched to different speeds of different lights. I'll live with the dead, die with the living, and build a resort village in the wormhole that connects them. Reservations not only accepted, but encouraged!

When it comes to downtown, make mine Petula Clark or don't make it at all. Preferably the latter. I'm a simple country boy, and town is someplace you go to pay bills and/or go to jail.

Air has no town nor no time. Air is always!

Oh, Henry!

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That's the next album up in my queue, Tom.

I find the cat fascinating, and I've chosen to follow his discography in chronological order. I heard some bits and pieces from that one last night, and really enjoyed what I heard.

J.D. Allen is a monster talent. His album "Victory!" from a couple of years back is in constant play rotation. Great album.

LWayne

J.D. Allen is a monster talent. His album "Victory!" from a couple of years back is in constant play rotation. Great album.

LWayne

That's one of his trio albums, isn't it?

I'm a huge horn-led trio nerd.

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I only have Matador & The Bull. It's a burning, exciting record, but I fully understand where Jim is coming from. I don't feel particularly compelled to check out his other stuff at this point, but I sure dig the hell out of that record when I'm playing it.

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I only have Matador & The Bull. It's a burning, exciting record, but I fully understand where Jim is coming from. I don't feel particularly compelled to check out his other stuff at this point, but I sure dig the hell out of that record when I'm playing it.

Yep.

And based on what I've heard, I can completely understand that.

But, the cat just gets it done.

Dunno...

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The music that I see and hear live these days is far different from the music I saw and heard 20 years ago

And much of it is less "out" if you will

Then again, I think two of the great talents in this music have never come across as well as they should on record - and those two are Tony Malaby and Mat Maneri. And yes - both of them were fledgling musicians 20 years ago - but today they are masters of their universes and what they often create live is fresh, unpredictable and strikingly today.

Fwiw

Get Ready to Receive Yourself

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I really enjoy Allen's trio recordings. I think his concept on those recordings is his peak. I have heard him live a few times with Jeremy Pelt and earlier this year I caught his trio. The trio performance was a highlight.

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I have all of his leader recordings except the first one on Red Records. With respect to the trio records:

1183.jpg

(Sunnyside)

is my favorite. He is an artist whose records, at this point, I purchase as a matter of course.

I have seen him live many times, usually playing music from the trio records with his former trio of Gregg August and Rudy Royston. I also saw him once in a quartet with Jeremy Pelt, August, and Tyshawn Sorey at the Vanguard -- the music was much "freer" than Allen's trio records or what Pelt usually plays and great, but not entirely "on the outside."

I saw him in this setting: http://kadmusarts.com/forum/index.php?topic=1440.0 several years ago. Given the line up, I did not know what to expect. It turned out that the group played entirely "free" jazz. I wasn't expecting that given the personnel at the time, but It was memorable and reminiscent of Interstellar Space with a bassist and with Allen and Roberts taking turns as Coltrane. Royston and Revis were ridiculously good. It would be nice if that performance was recorded and released or if Allen had the opportunity to make a record in the same vein with that personnel.

Apparently, he is releasing another record this year called Bloom: https://www.facebook.com/TheJDALLENfanpage.

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Listening to the Allen Lowe tracks right now. Tent Walk is absolutely stellar!

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I have "Victory" and need to spin again. It's a great album, it reminds me of a Branford trio disc but more concise. Allen's playing is great on Jaimeo Brown's "Transcedence" which as I said before, is a deeply moving, profound album.

Edited by CJ Shearn

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Yeah, I'll have to order some of your stuff, because those two pieces were really, really good.* I see you had Ras with you on that date. That's my boy! I love Ras to death ever since our days back on the old Freejazz.org. He and I also traded a lot of bootleg material many moons ago. Had the pleasure of meeting him in person at Viz several years ago. Very quiet and humble cat.

Funds are somewhat frozen right now due to some rather expensive home renovations we're doing, but I'll hit you up soon.

BTW, who was the guitarist? That cat was fucking smoking! And I normally don't care that much for electronic instruments in Jazz.

*I know many artists hate being compared to others, so please understand I mean absolutely no offense. But Tent Walk almost immediately had me thinking of Eric Dolphy's Music Matador. Has that same humor and knockabout feel to it. And that's one of my all time favorite Jazz tunes.

Edited by Scott Dolan

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New album is nearly here (edit: 22nd April), i've been driving myself crazy trying to find out who's going to be playing on it (Amazon blurb made it sound like it was going to be a duet album Orrin Evans but was kind of ambiguous), turns out it's Orrin Evans on piano, Alexander Claffy on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums. Jonathan Barber is the only returnee from Grace, which is slightly disappointing to me but one out of three ain't bad and hey ya never know it might turn out for the better. A track has been posted on Soundcloud, and while i don't know how representative of the album it is it's definitely more straight ahead/four four swinging than the free bop of Grace. The first half which Allen sits out reminds me a lot of Ethan Iverson's Costumes Are Mandatory, strangely.

https://soundcloud.com/highnote-savant-records/car-car-the-blues-from-jd

While the track doesn't exactly make me evacuate my bowels in anticipation of hearing the full album i do like it and i am pretty excited to hear the full album. After enjoying Grace so much i just can't not check out what Allen does next. The cover art totally sucks though, in my opinion; i guess Savant is trying to be in that tradition of labels with incongruous cover art: kind of endearing, in a way.

Edited by xybert

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What? David Newman is not a jazz musician? Is that because he memorizes his solos? Bullshit.

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What? David Newman is not a jazz musician? Is that because he memorizes his solos? Bullshit.

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New album is nearly here (edit: 22nd April), i've been driving myself crazy trying to find out who's going to be playing on it (Amazon blurb made it sound like it was going to be a duet album Orrin Evans but was kind of ambiguous), turns out it's Orrin Evans on piano, Alexander Claffy on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums. Jonathan Barber is the only returnee from Grace, which is slightly disappointing to me but one out of three ain't bad and hey ya never know it might turn out for the better. A track has been posted on Soundcloud, and while i don't know how representative of the album it is it's definitely more straight ahead/four four swinging than the free bop of Grace. The first half which Allen sits out reminds me a lot of Ethan Iverson's Costumes Are Mandatory, strangely.

https://soundcloud.com/highnote-savant-records/car-car-the-blues-from-jd

While the track doesn't exactly make me evacuate my bowels in anticipation of hearing the full album i do like it and i am pretty excited to hear the full album. After enjoying Grace so much i just can't not check out what Allen does next. The cover art totally sucks though, in my opinion; i guess Savant is trying to be in that tradition of labels with incongruous cover art: kind of endearing, in a way.

I'n not familiar with J.D. Allen, but an album with Orrin Evans on it is always worth checking out!

It personally think the album art itself isn't that bad, but the typography (and unfortunately you see it too often) kind of ruins it for me, by using such a cheap and uninspiring looking font.

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New album is nearly here (edit: 22nd April), i've been driving myself crazy trying to find out who's going to be playing on it (Amazon blurb made it sound like it was going to be a duet album Orrin Evans but was kind of ambiguous), turns out it's Orrin Evans on piano, Alexander Claffy on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums. Jonathan Barber is the only returnee from Grace, which is slightly disappointing to me but one out of three ain't bad and hey ya never know it might turn out for the better. A track has been posted on Soundcloud, and while i don't know how representative of the album it is it's definitely more straight ahead/four four swinging than the free bop of Grace. The first half which Allen sits out reminds me a lot of Ethan Iverson's Costumes Are Mandatory, strangely.

https://soundcloud.com/highnote-savant-records/car-car-the-blues-from-jd

While the track doesn't exactly make me evacuate my bowels in anticipation of hearing the full album i do like it and i am pretty excited to hear the full album. After enjoying Grace so much i just can't not check out what Allen does next. The cover art totally sucks though, in my opinion; i guess Savant is trying to be in that tradition of labels with incongruous cover art: kind of endearing, in a way.

I'n not familiar with J.D. Allen, but an album with Orrin Evans on it is always worth checking out!

It personally think the album art itself isn't that bad, but the typography (and unfortunately you see it too often) kind of ruins it for me, by using such a cheap and uninspiring looking font.

Yeah i think i overreacted to the cover art a bit... not that bad, but i just don't think it suits Allen's vibe. It makes me think of B-grade nineties Prog, or The Crash Test Dummies, or Sting, but not JD Allen.

I'm really looking forward to hearing Orrin Evans here; have heard tracks here and there but this will be my first time listening to a full album.

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