Marshall Allen/Hamid Drake/Kidd Jordan/William Parker/Alan Silva: The All-Star Game

All-star games in professional sports are generally inconsequential, run-and-gun affairs and quite contrary to the spiritual urgency of free jazz. Featuring a line-up worthy of the name, The All-Star Game (Eremite) manages to split the difference between a convivial homerun hitting contest and a soul-baring gestalt session. The five musicians include two New Thing luminaries-Sun Ra Arkestra alto saxophonist Marshall Allen and bassist Alan Silva, who contributed to basic library recordings by Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor-patriarchal tenor saxophonist Kidd Jordan, and the seemingly conjoined tandem of drummer Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker. Not only do the musicians get ample opportunities to jack a few out of the park, they are also able to team up in various combinations and create inspired collective statements. Like the best midseason classics, The All-Star Game renews one’s love of the game.