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JD Allen: Bloom

JD Allen writes in his album notes that “Technically Bloom draws from three sources, 20th-century classical music, the American songbook and jazz improvisation.” But two of Allen’s tenor sax predecessors-John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins-are much in evidence as well. Allen has a big tone that at different times calls to mind each of them (listeners could make a game of deciding when Allen sounds more like one or the other), and his music, like theirs, couples intellect and spirituality without abandoning its earthy roots.

Following several well-regarded trio albums, Allen switches to a quartet here, with Orrin Evans, Alexander Claffy and Jonathan Barber joining him on piano, bass and drums, respectively. Allen’s seven compositions on the disc include the title track; the Trane-ish opener, “Jack’s Glass”; the Barber-showcasing “The Secret Life of Guest Workers,” on which a slow, Ornette Coleman-like line leads into and out of an extensive drum solo; “A Throng of Millions Can Be One” and “The Rule of Thirds,” similar tunes differentiated most obviously by Claffy’s bowed solo in the latter; and the closing blues “Car-Car (The Blues),” which Evans opens with one of his better solos.

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