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Ben Allison

Ben Allison

Ben Allison is a bassist, composer and Artistic Director of the New York based Jazz Composers Collective, a musician-run, non-profit organization dedicated to presenting new music. He describes his new release on Palmetto Records, Medicine Wheel, as “a spinning, buzzing, whirring musical wheel.

“One of the ideas behind Medicine Wheel,” he explains, “was to write music that has musicians use extended techniques like multiphonics and prepared instruments. We prepared the piano with pennies and fishing line, and on one tune I wove paper through the strings of the bass to approximate a buzzing box drum. I took sounds people often associate with 20th century classical music or avant garde jazz, and put it into a context that was more accessible melodically and rhythmically, something that was infectious. I’m always trying to blend, to strike the balance between what appeals to your heart and what appeals to your head. As Jeff Ballard, the drummer on the recording says, it’s music that makes you stomp your feet and scratch your head.”

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