From 2014. The tenor saxophone hero here with cultured pianist Orrin Evans, practically Bley-like, LaFaro-calibre bassist Alexander Claffy, and drummer Jonathan Barber, summoning Rudy Royston-like rolls and routines on ‘The Secret Lives of Guest Workers’, recorded in a New Jersey studio in January this year an album that draws, Allen says in the notes, on: 20th century classical music (Messiaen and Schoenberg); the Great American songbook; and, jazz improvisation.
Allen is one of the tenor saxophonists closest to the spirit of John Coltrane playing today, the Detroit-born 41-year-old sends you into a space of retreat to emerge somehow exhilarated. Music for the mind and the body Allen’s last record as a leader was Grace and you may have also picked up on him on Jaimeo Brown’s groundbreaking 2013 record Transcendence.
An awesome record, words are pretty much unnecessary, but pick your jaw up off the floor as you’ll need it to chew over Bloom with your friends. Mostly JD’s tunes plus Tadd Dameron’s cool ballad ‘If You Could See Me Now’, a song Sarah Vaughan made her own in the 1940s, all stillness and dewy, and Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Stardust’ glistening and iridescent. The traditional ‘Pater Noster’ will give you chills. A marvel. SG