Carl Allen

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Allen's a decent though hardly extraordinary mainstream drummer who here leads an all-star neo-bop contingent in a set of standards and originals. Nothing surprising about the general conservatism of the date, given the personnel -- Vincent Herring on alto sax, Nicholas Payton on trumpet, and Cyrus Chestnut on organ, to name a few. There's also nothing in particular wrong with the music, which is heartily played and deeply felt. Nothing, that is, except for the fact that it's covering ground that's been pretty much trampled into dust. It's a pleasant-enough listen, however, and since Cannonball Adderley isn't around to make albums like this anymore, maybe it's a good thing that musicians like these are. On the other hand, as long as guys like Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson, and Phil Woods still walk the planet, the need is somewhat diminished.

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