BEN ALLISON, ACTION-REFRACTION


The redoubtable bassist Ben Allison is well known as a bell ringer for jazz, and his creative enthusiasm has spawned a series of intrepid solo recordings as well as a productive NY based jazz collective. For his 10th recording, Allison culls his first collection of covers with “Action-Refraction” (Palmetto Records) and reboots them in wild and wonderful ways, including a switched on version of Samuel Barber’s “St Ita’s Vision” (where Allison is thinking Sun Ra as much as Leontyne Price) and a compellingly reverent remix of Neil Young’s “Philadelphia.”  

As the leader and arranger, Allison expands his palette with his intuitive “electro-acoustic orchestra” – saxophonist/bass clarinetist Michael Blake, guitarists Steve Cardenas and Brandon Seabrook, drummer Rudy Royston and particularly Jason Lindner on piano and synthesizer, who rocks the sonic trance arrangement of Donny Hathway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free.” Allison’s eloquent liner notes may explain his approach to covering Thelonious Monk (“his music is timeless and perpetually relevant”) and PJ Harvey’s “Missed,” but it’s his clear-eyed articulation of “We’ve Only Just Begun” and a remake of his own, “Broken,” complete with Prince-like guitar licks and Trent Reznor feedback, that makes this album an adventure in sound. At a trim 40+ minutes, the Allison team beautifully networks the concept and its aural pleasures will sustain multiple spins. (7 tracks; 41:22 minutes) 
   

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JAZZ IN SPACE: BEN ALLISON, ACTION-REFRACTION

Friday, April 29, 2011

BEN ALLISON, ACTION-REFRACTION


The redoubtable bassist Ben Allison is well known as a bell ringer for jazz, and his creative enthusiasm has spawned a series of intrepid solo recordings as well as a productive NY based jazz collective. For his 10th recording, Allison culls his first collection of covers with “Action-Refraction” (Palmetto Records) and reboots them in wild and wonderful ways, including a switched on version of Samuel Barber’s “St Ita’s Vision” (where Allison is thinking Sun Ra as much as Leontyne Price) and a compellingly reverent remix of Neil Young’s “Philadelphia.”  

As the leader and arranger, Allison expands his palette with his intuitive “electro-acoustic orchestra” – saxophonist/bass clarinetist Michael Blake, guitarists Steve Cardenas and Brandon Seabrook, drummer Rudy Royston and particularly Jason Lindner on piano and synthesizer, who rocks the sonic trance arrangement of Donny Hathway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free.” Allison’s eloquent liner notes may explain his approach to covering Thelonious Monk (“his music is timeless and perpetually relevant”) and PJ Harvey’s “Missed,” but it’s his clear-eyed articulation of “We’ve Only Just Begun” and a remake of his own, “Broken,” complete with Prince-like guitar licks and Trent Reznor feedback, that makes this album an adventure in sound. At a trim 40+ minutes, the Allison team beautifully networks the concept and its aural pleasures will sustain multiple spins. (7 tracks; 41:22 minutes) 
   

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