Monday, February 28, 2022

Tyler Mitchell featuring Marshall Allen - Dancing Shadows (Mahakala Music, 2022)

A pleasing jazz album which like it's guest star has much of the history of jazz available at its fingertips, allowing the musicians to cover the extremes of beautiful ballads free blowouts, but just as much in-between. The well integrated band consists of Mitchell on bass, Marshall Allen on saxophone and electronic valve instrument, Chris Hemmingway on tenor saxophone, Nicoletta Manzini on alto saxophone, Wayne Smith on drums and Elson Nascimento on percussion. The arrangements for the horns work well and the rhythm section is tight leading to a successful overall performance. The setlist is heavy on Sun Ra classics, but the group keeps them fresh like in "Enlightenment" where the band formas a hard swinging groove over which Allen can take an outre solo. None of the songs overstay their welcome, the longest is the opener, "Interstellar Loways" which builds a sense of atmospheric mystery and releases some well thought out solos. Mitchell was a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra as a colleague Marshall in 1985 under Sun Ra, then returned to much later when Marshall became musical director, so he is intimately familiar with the material. This shows in the relaxed grace that he and the band bring to this recording, one that Sun Ra aficionados and modern jazz fans as a whole will appreciate. Dancing Shadows -

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