Ben Allison: Respiration




Ben Allison & Man Size Safe


Little Things Run the World (Palmetto 2131)

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Ben Allison (bass), Steve Cardenas (electric guitar), Ron Horton (trumpet, flugelhorn), Michael Sarin (drums).

Composed by Ben Allison


Recorded: Maggie's Farm, Pennsylvania, August 17-18, 2007


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

When listing great jazz composers who are bassists, the top two spots are quickly filled: Charles Mingus and Dave Holland. Everyone else is far behind these two masters, and if this were a race, you might win the exacta but not the trifecta. But as we get into the stretch, Ben Allison is making a run for it. Like Mingus and Holland, he knows how to write songs that not only look good on the page, but also inspire the musicians in his band to play at the peak of their abilities.

"Respiration" is aptly named. The piece breathes at its own pace, building momentum with hypnotic rhythms. As with many Allison compositions, the musical lines are smartly layered and often counter one another rather than blend together. The interplay between Sarin and Cardenas during the latter's solo is quite striking. Horton has to follow this dynamic interlude, and works brilliantly with Allison to clear the landscape and open the aural space for an ethereal ECM-ish coda.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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  • 1 tyler // Feb 20, 2008 at 08:13 PM
    i luv ur music