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Riding the Nuclear Tiger
Ben Allison

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Track Listing
1. Riding the Nuclear Tiger [1:24]
2. Jazz Scene Voyeur
3. Love Chant Remix
4. Swiss Cheese D
5. Weazy
6. Charlie Brown's Psychedelic Christmas
7. Harlem River Line
8. Mysterious Visitor
9. Techtonics

Detailed Description / Musicians
Musicians:
Ben Allison - Bass
Frank Kimbrough - Piano & Prepared Piano
Jeff Ballard - Drums
Michael Blake - Saxophones
Ted Nash - Saxophones & Flute
Tomas Ulrich - Cello

Description:
Ben Allison has done it again, expertly guiding his ensemble, Medicine Wheel, through the labyrinths of these strong new compositions. There's a multifaceted brilliance at work here: a stunning display of melodic gifts and sheer instrumental ability, a mastery of orchestrational detail, and an aesthetic of celebration amid the music's high seriousness. As he has in the past, Allison succeeds in never repeating himself. Each track is its own universe, with a host of distinguishing sonic features and moods. The most outwardly exciting tunes are "Riding the Nuclear Tiger," a drum'n'bass style romp that gets its title from an actual headline in The Economist, and "Swiss Cheese D," a comic-book funk explosion inspired by the play-by-play commentary of retired basketball great Walt Frazier. Allison's and Ballard's stop-time fills on the latter are dead-on and electrifying. But some of the subtlest orchestration can be heard on the mellower tracks. For instance, hear the way pianist Frank Kimbrough and trumpeter Ron Horton answer saxophonist Ted Nash's melody line in "Jazz Scene Voyeur." Or how Kimbrough's piano and Tomas Ulrich's cello blend on the unison melody of saxophonist Michael Blake's piece "Harlem River Line," the one track not written by Allison. For that matter, listen to the end of Blake's piece, when bass and drums drop out, leaving only the horns to state the theme while Kimbrough decorates it with subtle piano fills. This is a band that knows how to surprise listeners at every turn.

Other highlights include Blake's simultaneous tenor/soprano solo on the folksy waltz "Weazy," Ulrich's beautiful work on the polytonal ballad "Charlie Brown's Psychedelic Christmas," Allison's alternate-tuned bass vamp on "Tectonics," and drummer Jeff Ballard's injection of Elvin Jones into the Mingus-inspired "Love Chant Remix." The brief prelude to "Tectonics," titled "Mysterious Visitor," is another a refined touch that contributes to the seamless flow of the record.

Ben Allison is one of the few young players and composers to transcend the futile debate between jazz traditionalists and radicals. He is following his own instincts, meeting the demands of the tradition while developing his own increasingly recognizable sound. With this fine album, he ascends another rung on the ladder of greatness and validates the artistic vision that brought his organization, the Jazz Composers Collective, into being.

--David R. Adler
All Music Guide


  Available Items by Ben Allison About Ben Allison 

Website: http://www.benallison.com

Ben Allison is a visionary composer, adventurous improviser, and strong organizational force on the New York City jazz scene, [and] has emerged "as a rising star over the past decade" (JazzTimes). With his groups Peace Pipe, Ben Allison Quartet, Medicine Wheel, the Kush Trio, and the Herbie Nichols Project (which he co-leads with pianist Frank Kimbrough) Ben has toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Brazil winning fans and building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.

Called one of today's best young jazz musicians by the Boston Globe, Ben has released seven albums of original music ? Cowboy Justice (2006), Buzz (2004), Peace Pipe (2002), Riding the Nuclear Tiger (2001), Third Eye (1999), and Medicine Wheel (1998) on Palmetto Records, and his 1996 debut Seven Arrows on the Koch Jazz label ? all of which showcase Ben's forward-thinking vision as a producer, composer, arranger, and bassist, and his hands-on approach to his craft.

Recently cited in the "Bassist of the Year" category of the 2005 Downbeat Readers? Poll, Ben?s work has not gone unnoticed by the press. Since 2003 Ben has been routinely listed in the Downbeat Critics? Poll inan extremely wide variety of rising star categories including "Bassist of the Year," "Album of the Year," "Composer of the Year," "Acoustic Group of the Year," "Arranger of the Year," and "Jazz Artist of the Year,"which is a testament to his dedication to his music.

"I see the the whole process, from assembling a band, writing and workshoping the music, recording and mastering the album, doing the artwork and writing the notes, and then touring the project to be all part of the process of musical expression." says Ben. "I enjoy every step as they all demand a certain kind of positive energy. And I get to collaborate with a wide range of very creative people. Ben's album Buzz, was #1 on the CMJ National Jazz radio charts for 6 consecutive weeks and remained in the top 20 for over five months. His previous three albums, achieved similar radio success, being among the most played albums of the years in which they were released. and have been named as among the best of the year by publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, Jazz Times, Jazz Journalists Association,Downbeat Critics Poll, All About Jazz, Coda (Canada), and Jazz Review (UK), among many others.

At the age of twenty-five, Ben formed the Jazz Composers Collective: a musician-run, non-profit organization based in New York City that is dedicated to constructing an environment where artists can exercise their ideals of creating and risking through the development and exploration of new music. As the Artistic Director and a Composer-in-Residence of the Jazz Composers Collective, Ben has produced or co-produced over 100 concerts and special events, including the Collective's annual concert series (which ran for eleven seasons), national and international tours by Collective artists, an on-going Collective residency at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, NYC), and an annual "Jazz Composers Collective Festival" at the Jazz Standard, which has drawn international attention as a mainstay of New York City's musical life. As a member of the Collective Ben has received commissioning, performing, and recording grants from Chamber Music America, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Foundation, Meet the Composer, and the American Composers Forum.

Born in 1966 in New Haven, Connecticut, Ben has performed the world over with musicians ranging from oudist Ara Dinkjian to saxophonist Lee Konitz to legendary performance artist Joey Arias. He has appeared on over 25 albums by various artists and has written music for film, national television and radio, including the theme for the National Public Radio (NPR) show "On the Media" and the score for Two Days, a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donald Margulies.

Cited by Downbeat magazine as one of the "25 rising jazz stars for the future" and in the "Bassist of the Year," "Album of the Year," "Composer of the Year," "Acoustic Group of the Year," "Arranger of the Year," and "Jazz Artist of the Year," Rising Star categories of the 2003, 2004, and 2005 Downbeat Critics' Poll, bassist-composer Ben Allison has solidified his reputation as "one of the most original voices in modern jazz" (Amazon.com), a strong organizational force on the New York City music scene, and an advocate for artist empowerment.

With his groups Peace Pipe, New Quartet, Medicine Wheel, the Kush Trio, and the Herbie Nichols Project (which he co-leads with pianist Frank Kimbrough) Ben has toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Brazil winning fans and building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.

His six recordings as a leader - Buzz (2004), Peace Pipe (2002), Riding the Nuclear Tiger (2001), Third Eye (1999), and Medicine Wheel (1998) on Palmetto Records, and his 1996 debut Seven Arrows on the Koch Jazz label - showcase Ben's forward-thinking vision as a producer, composer, arranger, and bassist, and his hands-on approach to his craft.

Buzz, was #1 on the CMJ National Jazz radio charts for 6 consecutive weeks and has remained in the top 20 for over five months. His previous three albums, achieved similar radio success, being among the most played albums of the years in which they were released. and have been named as among the best of the year by publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, Jazz Times, Jazz Journalists Association,Downbeat Critics Poll, All About Jazz, Coda (Canada), and Jazz Review (UK), among others.

At the age of twenty-five, he formed the Jazz Composers Collective: a musician-run, non-profit organization based in New York City that is dedicated to constructing an environment where artists can exercise their ideals of creating and risking through the development and exploration of new music. As the Artistic Director and a Composer-in-Residence of the Jazz Composers Collective, Ben has produced or co-produced over 100 concerts and special events, including the Collective's annual concert series (which ran for eleven seasons), national and international tours by Collective artists, an on-going Collective residency at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, NYC), and an annual "Jazz Composers Collective Festival" at the Jazz Standard which has drawn international attention as a mainstay of New York City's musical life. As a member of the Collective

Ben has received commissioning, performing, and recording grants from Chamber Music America, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Foundation, Meet the Composer, and the American Composers Forum.

Along with pianist Frank Kimbrough, Ben co-leads the Herbie Nichols Project, a performing and researching entity premiered by the Jazz Composers Collective in 1994, dedicated to the music of the brilliant pianist-composer. The group has recorded three CDs, Strange City (Palmetto Records, 2001), and Dr. Cyclops' Dream and Love Is Proximity (both on Soul Note Records, 1999 and 1997). Strange City topped the jazz radio charts (CMJ) peaking at #1, and was picked as "Best Album" in the 2002 Downbeat Critics' Poll. The group was also chosen as "Best Acoustic Group" and "Best Acoustic Group - TDWR" in the same poll.

Born in 1966 in New Haven, Connecticut, Ben has performed the world over with musicians ranging from oudist Ara Dinkjian to saxophonist Lee Konitz to legendary performance artist Joey Arias. He has appeared on over 25 albums by various artists and has written music for film, national television and radio, including the theme for the National Public Radio (NPR) show "On the Media" and the score for Two Days, a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donald Margulies.

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