Trumpeter Eddie Allen has covered a lot of musical territory in more than four decades on the jazz scene. He has worked with some of the top players of the Chicago avant-garde set, including Lester Bowie and Muhal Richard Abrams, as well as more mainstream greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, and Randy Weston. His latest album, "Push," showcases his own vision, not to mention eight of his excellent compositions.
"Push" finds Allen's muscular trumpet sound nicely surrounded by the smoother sound of Keith Loftis on tenor sax and the gruffer forays of Dion Tucker on trombone. When they're not playing great horn heads together, like they do in "Hillside Strut," and the title tune, Allen can be counted upon to carve out melodic solos over every chord progression.
The album's other highlights include "Sacred Ground," with its spare, Ahmad Jamal vibe, and the beautiful ballad "Caress." The disc's only cover, Anthony Newley's "Who Can I Turn To?," reimagines a bygone classic. Contributing to these and other tunes are Allen's superb band-mates Misha Tsiganov on electronic keyboards and Mark Soskin (piano), and the group's linchpins, Kenny Davis (bass) and E.J. Strickland (drums). — BY RON NETSKY