Little Things Run the World, the nifty new CD from bassist Ben Allison and his band Man Size Safe, offers an Americana that’s hard to put a finger on. Sometimes they mine a multiethnic, Southwestern vein; other times it’s the folk of the Heartland. But the American tradition’s real presence lies in the album’s aura of darkness and mystery. Although Ron Horton’s trumpet dominates, Allison’s ax is always prominent-not for him the axiom that audiences shouldn’t notice bass players. It’s Allison who generates the disc’s moodiness, his simple vamps intertwining with Steve Cardenas’ guitar and Michael Sarin’s subtle drums (as on “Four Folk Songs” and “Blowback”) to undertow Horton’s (and occasionally saxophonist Michael Blake) lovely, storyteller-like melodic lines.
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