Dr. Perry Alexander

The University of Kansas

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Think Free - Ben Allison

Ben Allison is a bassist from Portland who was recommended to me by my friend Jeff Lewis after he learned of Ari Hoenig from one of my posts. It’s great how that works, isn’t it? I’ve since invested in quite a few of Ben Allison’s projects and am a big fan.

Think Free is the first of Allison’s albums that I purchased and it took a few listens to get into. For me, this is actually a good sign

The opening track, Fred, is an interesting tune that’s difficult for me to describe. It’s definitely a jazz track, but it feels to me like the drummer is laying down a pop line. The trumpet is absolutely gorgeous and understated - I’m sure I could pick up the horn and play the line right now. However, it’s absolutely perfect. The song reminds me of some of the work that Ginger Baker did when he headed in a jazz direction. The second track, Platypus, is just as good as the first and in the same spirit. The same general feel, but a bit more uptempo. Again an understated trumpet line with a kind of pop drum track underneath.

Kramer vs. Kramer vs. Godzilla takes things in a very different direction. A bit more outside and electronic, but still fits what’s going on with the album very well. Still featuring the trumpet, but now with strings moving to the front.

Peace Pipe is a wonderful track that has a nice, surprising change of pace in the middle. It starts with a somewhat dissonant melody that makes you wonder what’s coming. Then a gorgeous trumpet line emerges into a new melody that I really enjoy. Peace Pipe might be my favorite track on the album with Fred being right up there as well.

Wonderful album by a wonderful artist. I’m not sure who the trumpet player is, but I definitely enjoy their work.