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Ben Allison: Singing the Melody

Bassist talks with JT's editor-in-chief about his new album Action-Refraction and why he likes to sing in private

Ben Allison (photo: Greg Aiello)
Ben Allison (photo: Greg Aiello)
Ben Allison

A fixture on the New York City jazz scene since the early ’90s, bassist Ben Allison was one of the founders of the Jazz Composers Collective, and has since gone on to record and perform as a leader of his own groups. On his 10th and most recent album, Action-Refraction on Palmetto, Allison explores the music of composers and artists from diverse genres, including classical (Samuel Barber), jazz (Thelonious Monk), rock (PJ Harvey and Neil Young), soul (Donny Hathaway) and even the most commercial pop (The Carpenters). Allison’s working band features Steve Cardenas on guitar, Michael Blake on saxophone and Rudy Royston on drums, all of whom perform on the album, which also features Jason Lindner and Brandon Seabrook.

In an expansive and candid conversation, Allison spoke with JT about the genesis of the new album as well as about the importance of melody and why the Jazz Composers Collective disbanded.

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