BRIAN ALLEN WITH TONY MALABY AND TOM RAINEY - SYNAPSE REVIEW
from All About Jazz
Trombonist/composer Brian Allen aligns himself with the creme de la creme of
New York City jazz musicians on this bass-less trio date. Synapse is a cleverly
articulated effort; Allen nimbly handles the lower (bassline) register while
toggling between his leadership and soloing duties. During nip and tuck
dialogues, the band navigates an abundance of disparate time signatures.
Tenor sax player Tony Malaby pronounces fire and brimstone during most of
this session as the band follows by an evolutionary process drenched with
interleaving exchanges. However, Malaby does lessen the gritty, hard-nosed
environs on occasion, during an assortment of sublime thematic forays.
Otherwise, Allen is a fiery soloist, while drummer Tom Rainey peppers and prods
the band via snappy, asymmetrical pulses and polyrhythmic off-beats.
Complete with jagged flows and intensive three-way improvisation, Synapse
finds the musicians digging deep from within. On this democratic engagement,
everyone involved embarks upon a similar plane. For example, Allen’s blitzing
notes on “Alphren” are counterbalanced by Rainey’s call and response
techniques, largely performed on the snare drum and hi-hat. In addition, the unit’
s intuitive interactions are steeped within rising tides and descending
undercurrents. It’s a strong date, often empowered by the artists’ collective
ability to get to the point, make a statement or two, then back off and redirect
energies into newer frontiers. ~ Glenn Astarita