Ben Allison composes such fascinating music, knows the strength of his musical partners, and gives material to dig into and get lost in. "Layers of the City" is, at turns, powerful, soothing, rollicking, mysterious, noisy, and adventurous. While you hear the Miles influence on a number of tracks, you can't help but hear this as Ben Allison music and that, dear reader, is a very good thing.
For more information, go to benallison.com.
Here's a live take of the title track:
The opening track, "Whiffle Ball, comes out of the gate more like a Nolan Ryan fastball than its plastic namesake. Ms. Glover, on soprano, digs right in and rides the powerful waves from the rhythm section. Colligan plays with such joy as if he'd been set free after years of confinement yet he always plays with great passion. "More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine", from whence the album derives its title, opens with Ms. Oh strumming by herself before the piano and drums enter leading to Ms. Glover, here on tenor, plays the melody. The leader gets the first solo, playing with abandon in the style of McCoy Tyner. Ms. Glover is no pussycat either as her solo is quite ferocious. There's a fascinating "free" section before the quartet returns to the powerful theme section.
|Timothy Forbes photography|
I suppose it's possible to get overwhelmed by the power of the music produced by George Colligan and his impressive band. Speaking for myself, every time I put this recording on, I get energized (dangerous to listen to in the car though as the music makes the car go faster - go figure). "More Powerful" may be one of the hardest-hitting contemporary jazz records you'll hear this year. Let it roar!
For more information, go to georgecolligan.com.
Here's the title track: