The third album by tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen's working trio with bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston is the shortest and most compressed one yet. He's a player given to concision; the majority of pieces on 2008's I Am I Am and 2009's Shine! were in the three- to four-minute range, but pieces on Victory! frequently come in well shy of the three-minute mark. He says what he's got to say, allows his bandmates (particularly Royston) to assert themselves, and then it's over. Intensity and focus are here, but almost no self-indulgence. This is surprising enough, but it becomes even more so when one reflects on how much Allen's tone and even his phrasing on the horn recall John Coltrane circa 1964. Many of the ideas heard here seem like variations on ones explored on classic Coltrane discs like Crescent and The John Coltrane Quartet Plays. That's not to suggest that Allen isn't a unique and compelling voice, because he absolutely is. But he's working within a tradition and making no bones about it. Anyone looking for a modern, relatively young (Allen was born in 1972) mainstream tenor player to champion would do well to check out everything the J.D. Allen Trio releases.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman