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Marshall Allen with Lou Grassi’s Poband: PoZest

Reaching about the forty-year mark, free jazz has its own heroes, like alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, who here joins forces with the PoBand all-star ensemble, comprised of bassist Wilber Morris, drummer Lou Grassi, clarinetist Perry Robinson, trombonist Steve Swell and trumpeter Paul Smoker. Allen, long known for his tenure in Sun Ra’s various ensembles, is seldom heard outside Ra’s outer-spaceways, which should make this album all the more pivotal for his career. Unfortunately, there isn’t that much memorable happening on PoZest to really attest Allen’s striking playing.

No other idiom celebrates jazz’s improvisation in the moment credo more than free jazz, which is why most of it sounds more like indiscernible static, and considerably less ecstatic on record. Placing high premium on collective improvisation, sound textures and volume dynamics, with little regard to conventional composition structure, PoZest is avant-garde jazz at its most hermetic.

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