Eddie Allen is one busy guy. He gathers up not only great players for his solo releases but also leads a quartet, a quintet, an Afro-Cubano ensemble, and a 16-piece big band…while free-lancing, educating, and acting as clinician for aspiring musicians. Geez, and here I complain if I have to get up and change the channel on the radio! Push is an octet release centered in one of the great bases of jazz, the horn trio (Allen on trumpet, Keith Loftis on tenor sax, Dion Tucker on trombone) but also with elaborate accompaniment, including the rather well known characters of Mark Soskin on piano, Kenny Davis on acoustic bass, and Misha Tsiganov on electronic keyboards.
We last glanced at Tsiganov's colorative work in the Meurkins / Espinosa Celebrando (here) but he's here more out front, given solos before falling back to act as orchestral sweetener and ambiance adjunct (especially catch how he and Soskin work together in the background of Hillside Strut). In fact, everyone gets a clear voice in Allen's broad, open, and generous compositions. They were written to be so, the trumpeter no swell-headed egotist, and the result is highly engaging, a constant palette of swirling, grooving, boppy, and then balladic charts, all and sundry handing off the baton for the next cat to enlarge upon.
But, man, that center trio, what a cohesive sub-unit! And it sits right beside some of Soskin's best work as well as E.J. Strickland's non-stop tip-a-tappin' on Caress and germanely inventive skinswork elsewhere, a couple of times even sounding like snatches of Keith Moon in Underture (Tommy). Solidly Blue Note / CTI, Push is another in a growing swell of returns to old values that keep matters brightly glowing with new thought processes and interpretations of what came before, how it affected what's done now, and interpolating the mélange a foot further to explore tomorrow before it arrives.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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