Forty-three year old tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen is a man on the rise. He was named as Downbeat's Rising Star in 2011 and has matured nicely in the succeeding four years. Witness his latest creation Graffiti, a tour de force of purpose and inventiveness.
On a Thursday night at the elegant Kitano Jazz club in Manhattan the saxophonist Michael Blake premiered his latest work Contrasts in Individualism, a series of compositions inspired by two of the twentieth century's most influential pre-bop tenor men, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young.
Often inspired by the music and events of his times, Allison's witty deconstruction of popular songs is one of his most engaging attributes and has let him cross over into a wider audience than is generally afforded most jazz artists.
After years of activism on behalf of the average Joe and Jane, this 91-year-old national treasure still swings a heavy hammer, and his thoughtful insights are presented here just in time for Labor Day.