Marshall Allen


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This session brings together Marshall Allen, longtime reedman with Sun Ra, with the PoBand, led by Lou Grassi. The PoBand is a rarity: a working, established free band that's been a going concern since 1995. This session was its third, and second on the CIMP label. The session opens with an intense blowout. The opening and closing sections of "Bird Symphony" are dominated by Allen's strangled, distorted tone, with Perry Robinson's piping clarinet echoing the bird calls that gave rise to the title. The middle section is quieter, with the ensemble breaking down into smaller units, including a nuanced duet by Robinson and trombonist Steve Swell. Compared to the wide-open blowing of the opener, the remaining tracks are at once shorter and more focused on exploring specific textural effects. "(Midnight) Blues" is a faux shuffle. "Soft Winds" meshes soft buzzing and squeaks and distortions, and also shows off CIMP's ability to capture such delicate sounds. The tense, ominous "LouRa," composed by Paul Smoker, provides each member a chance to step forward within a more structured context. This session very much belongs to the ensemble as a whole, with the honored guest taking his place within the ensemble.

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