Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Luther Allison, I Owe It All To You, Posi-Tone **** Recommended

Memphis mindful and more pianist Luther Allison - known for his work with Samara Joy - is respectful of Donald Brown (born 1954) with whom he studied, Mulgrew Miller (1955-2013), Harold Mabern (1936-2019) and James Williams (1951-2004) - as well as …

Published: 10 Jul 2024. Updated: 12 days.

Memphis mindful and more pianist Luther Allison - known for his work with Samara Joy - is respectful of Donald Brown (born 1954) with whom he studied, Mulgrew Miller (1955-2013), Harold Mabern (1936-2019) and James Williams (1951-2004) - as well as making note of his Christian faith in his work on this very fine priority listening upcoming recording of which Allison's tune 'Lu's Blues' as well as another original 'Until I See You Again' are streaming.

Tunes here include basketball icon Julius Erving tribute 'Say Dr. J'; a version of Stevie Wonder's 1976 classic Songs in the Key of Life's 'Knocks Me Off My Feet'; Allison's own 'Until I See You Again' dedicated to his fiancée and the Richard Rodgers standard 'I Didn’t Know What Time it Was' inspired by Brown's solo piano version.

We're guessing that the Brown performance referred to is the version on the 1995 recorded Space Time Records release Piano Short Stories captured in France - Brown also interpreted it with vibist Steve Nelson and others on a contemporaneous 1990s Muse album called Cartunes.

Allison says: ''I decided to expand the arrangement for trio and spread some love to the veteran bassist Boris Kozlov and my friend and drummer extraordinaire Zach Adleman.''

Brown's masterfully driving piece 'New York' (from 1990 Muse album Sources of Inspiration - a recording that also had Gary Bartz and Eddie Henderson among the personnel) - is also on I Owe It All To You.

And following Brown's suggestion Mabern's 'There But for The Grace Of…' also makes it on as are Allison's own tunes 'Things We Used to Say' - ''drenched in the blues,'' says Allison - and 'Lu’s Blues' currently streaming.

Also included is a treatment of Mulgrew Miller waltz time piece 'From Day to Day,' the title track of the 1990 Landmark trio Orrin Keepnews produced release that found Miller with Robert Hurst and Kenny Washington later issued in a live version.

This is Allison's debut as a leader. The concept makes sense. It works like a charm. We only know him so far for his role on Sam Butler's Folklore and on Samara Joy's Grammy winning 'Tight' with bassist Mikey Migliore and drummer Evan Sherman.

Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Allison, who is in his mid/late-twenties, studied at the University of Tennessee and Michigan State University. He's a regular on Marc Free and Nick O’Toole's Posi-Tone and was on saxist Diego Rivera’s Connections for instance issued in 2019. Dreamily reflective and full of flowing energy and a certain wisdom the album's full release is on 19 July. Luther Allison, photo: Anna Yatskevich

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Stemseder Lillinger Quartet feat. Peter Evans & Russell Hall, Umbra II, Intakt ***

Avant experimentalism from Austrian keyboard instrumentalist Elias Stemeseder and the German drummer Christian Lillinger here in a quartet with US trumpeter Peter Evans and Kingston, Jamaica born bassist Russell Hall - also US based. They …

Published: 9 Jul 2024. Updated: 13 days.

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Avant experimentalism from Austrian keyboard instrumentalist Elias Stemeseder and the German drummer Christian Lillinger here in a quartet with US trumpeter Peter Evans and Kingston, Jamaica born bassist Russell Hall - also US based.

They condense and clarify their approach moving on from last year's Umbra, a stylistically divergent recording that had a bigger cast of players and was also issued by Swiss label Intakt.

Dense, often squally, certainly highly abstract 'Resolution Points' seems to make most sense as does the serenity found on 'Blendung'. Easy to admire certainly - harder perhaps to love it's a recording made at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey last October and certainly not the kind of retro hard bop at all that is often made there these days.