@ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club
19 November 2016
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Hailed by the New York Times as “a tenor saxophonist with
an enigmatic, elegant and hard-driving style,” JD Allen is
a bright rising light on today’s international jazz scene.
His unique and compelling voice on the instrument - the result of
a patient and painstaking confrontation with the fundamentals of
the art - has recently earned Allen a blaze of critical attention
signalling his ascension to the upper ranks of the contemporary
Originally from Detroit, Allen’s apprenticeship, anchored
by his lengthy tenure with Betty Carter, occurred largely in New
York, where he worked with legends Lester Bowie, George Cables,
Ron Carter, Louis Hayes, Frank Foster Big Band, Winard Harper, Butch
Morris, David Murray, Wallace Roney. He added his voice to that
of his contemporaries as well; Cindy Blackman, Eric Revis, Orrin
Evans, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dave Douglas, Jeremy Pelt, Gerald Cleaver
and Nigel Kennedy continue to call upon him to augment their musical
visions. Allen’s debut album, “In Search Of” (Red
Records, 1999), won him the Best New Artist award in Italy, and
reviewers praised him for his compositions and conceptual boldness.
His second release, “Pharoah’s Children” (Criss
Cross, 2002), again won him accolades for its thoughtfulness, maturity,
and adventurousness. One of Jazziz Magazine’s Critics Picks
Top 10 Albums of the Year, the album was widely praised in the U.S.
In 2008 Allen began an association with Sunnyside Records, which
released “I Am – I Am” featuring Gregg August
(bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) and garnered rave reviews from the
New York Times (Ben Ratliff’s Playlist), Time Out NY (music
cover), All About Jazz, Jazzman, Jazz Wise and Downbeat. That year
Allen appeared on NPR's Jazz Perspectives, WNYC's Soundcheck and
WKCR's Musician's Show. Allen was named ‘Rising Star’
in DownBeat's 2011 Critic’s Poll as well as a finalist in
the 2010, 2009 and 2008 polls.
In 2009, Allen released his follow-up Sunnyside recording, Shine!
He received TOP 10 album of the year in over 25 publications worldwide
including; NPR’S Top 5 Albums of 2009 (Shine!), JazzTimes
Top 50 Albums of 2009 (Shine!), Village Voice #9 Jazz Album of the
Year (Shine!), Boston Globe Top Jazz Album of the Year, 2009 (Shine!).
Word-of-mouth praise for the album led Lorraine Gordon, owner of
the famed and historic Village Vanguard to invite him and his trio
for a weeklong stint. The engagement was met with relentless coverage
from the cultural press and further acclaim.