Dave Allen, a recent addition to the New York stable, makes a fiery and eloquent showing with Untold Stories. Joined by tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, bassist Carlo DeRosa and drummer Mark Ferber, Allen brings daunting chops, full-bodied tone and melodic sensitivity to the table on this all-original debut set.
On the haunting rubato “Searching,” the midtempo straight-eighth piece “Spring Snow,” the lyrical ballad “Not Even the Rain” and the burning “Samba 7,” we hear Allen in a trio setting sans Blake, filling a wide variety of spaces with advanced lines and well-placed harmony. His penchant for sleight-of-hand rhythm comes through on several tracks, including “In Some Human City,” “Paradigm Shift” and “Out of the Trap.” In terms of technique he’s aggressive and unfailingly accurate, identifiably of the post-Metheny school but showing the promise of originality. He throws plenty of challenges at his top-tier bandmates, and they devour the stuff, listening every step of the way.