PERFORMER: Ben Allison & Medicine Wheel
CATALOGUE NO: PM 2101
Ben Allison’s group Medicine Wheel is a fine example. The bassist-leader has trombone, two tenor saxophones, piano, bass and drums as his chosen line-up. Its latest CD for Palmetto, Buzz, progresses confidently from its previous sets, on a disc which is often quiet and ruminative.
It starts with the slow breathing of ‘Respiration’ and ends with a dirge-like treatment of the Beatles’s ‘Across the Universe’. Michael Blake and Ted Nash are saxophonists with a lean and contemplative style – at times they sound something like Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz conversing – and Allison has them weaving an almost continuous dialogue through his originals.
A deft version of Andrew Hill’s ‘Erato’ makes an effective homage to that master.