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Photo by Frank Stewart
The J. D. Allen Trio takes a fearless approach to a formidable tradition. It’s a tenor saxophone trio, with bass and drums but no piano or guitar, which means that the burden of exposition falls squarely on the shoulders of its namesake bandleader. That should be challenge enough, but the format also amounts to a confrontation with history: it has been a test of mettle for tenor saxophonists since the 1950s, starting with Sonny Rollins and continuing on through countless inheritors.Nate Chinen, The New York Times
The JD Allen Trio
Friday, October 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm
PONCHO Hall, 710 East Roy Street, Seattle, WA
Over the last few years saxophonist JD Allen has been blowing away the standard jazz conventions with a slew of tremendous recordings on Sunnyside Records and his no hold barred live performances. His latest recording, Victory!, finds the talented performer/composer continuing his quest to shake up the jazz world. He is marches on with the aid of his fantastic Trio featuring bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston. Known for their direct and engaging performances, the Trio burns through a new set of tunes with gusto, which leaves the listener yearning for more. An insightful documentary about the saxophonist is included on the CD.
Hailed by the New York Times as “a tenor saxophonist with an enigmatic, elegant and hard-driving style,” JD Allen is a bright rising light on today’s international jazz scene. His unique and compelling voice on the instrument has recently earned Allen a blaze of critical attention signaling his ascension to the upper ranks of the contemporary jazz world. Originally from Detroit, Allen’s apprenticeship, anchored by his lengthy tenure with Betty Carter, occurred largely in New York, where he worked with legends Lester Bowie, George Cables, Ron Carter, Louis Hayes, Frank Foster Big Band, Winard Harper, Butch Morris, David Murray, and Wallace Roney. Cindy Blackman, Eric Revis, Orrin Evans, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dave Douglas, Jeremy Pelt, Gerald Cleaver and Nigel Kennedy continue to call upon him to augment their musical visions. JD’s debut album In Search Of... (Red Records, 1999) won him the Best New Artist award in Italy, and reviewers praised him for his compositions and conceptual boldness. His second release, Pharoah’s Children (Criss Cross, 2002), again won him accolades for its thoughtfulness, maturity, and adventurousness. One of Jazziz magazine’s Critics Picks Top 10 Albums of the Year, the album was widely praised in the U.S. and Europe. In 2008 Allen began an association with Sunnyside Records, which released I AM – I AM featuring Gregg August (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) and garnered rave reviews from the New York Times, Time Out NY, All About Jazz, Jazzman, Jazz Wise and Downbeat. That year Allen was awarded Rising Star Tenor Saxophone in the 56th annual Downbeat Critics Poll and appeared on NPR’s Jazz Perspectives, WNYC’s Soundcheck and WKCR’s Musician’s Show. In 2009, Allen released his follow-up Sunnyside recording, Shine! which seems to have detonated the trail of musical gunpowder he had long been putting down. Word-of-mouth praise for the album led Lorraine Gordon, owner of the famed and historic Village Vanguard to invite him and his trio for a weeklong stint. The engagement was met with relentless coverage from the cultural press: Time Out New York selected his engagement as its top musical attraction for that week; he appeared on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show; his work was again discussed by Ben Ratliff on jazz journalist Josh Jackson’s radio show; and the New York Times reviewed his residency, commending Allen for his trio’s “fearless approach to a formidable tradition.” Allen’s third release for the Sunnyside label Victory! featured his longstanding trio of bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston, received a four star rating in Downbeat and was ranked as the third best jazz album of 2011 by NPR.
Bassist Gregg August spans the jazz, Latin jazz, classical and avant-garde scenes. A sought-after composer and arranger, celebrated for his versatility, breadth and intelligence, Gregg has been an active member of the New York music scene for over ten years. Originally a drummer, while spending two years at SUNY Albany, studying percussion with Richard Albagli, Gregg learned the bass. After transferring to The Eastman School of Music, August began studying jazz composition with renowned arranger Ray Wright and performance with pianist Bill Dobbins. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he promptly made the move to New York City, receiving his Master’s from The Juilliard School, where he studied with legendary bass teacher, Homer Mensch. Soon after graduation, August won the Principal bass position with La Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona in Spain, which he held for two years. After spending some time freelancing as a jazz bassist in Paris, Gregg found himself hungry to return to the challenging New York scene. Upon arriving back in New York, armed with a wealth of experience in Spanish culture and language, Gregg became extremely inspired by latin music. His interest then led him to Cuba and Brazil and to becoming a student of master latin bass player, Andy Gonzalez. It wasn’t long before he was touring and recording with Ray Barretto’s New World Spirit. August has played with Ray Barretto, Ornette Coleman, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo O’Farrill, James Moody, The Chico O’Farrill Big Band, The Lincoln Center’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and Ochun among others. As a classical bassist he frequently performs with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, The Mark Morris Dance Group, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the American Composer’s Orchestra. He’s also a faculty member at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Institute at MassMoca in North Adams, Mass. In July 2007, The Bang on the Can All Stars premiered his Cuban Son inspired composition “Oriente”. The Boston Globe review admires that the piece “deftly contrasts languorous atmospheric writing with the kind of hard-driving and rhythmically charged music that the All-stars eat for breakfast. “ He was also recently commissioned by the flute, harp and percussion trio, Maya, who recently debuted the works on their first CD In the Spirit. In 2003 Gregg formed his own sextet which has recorded two critically acclaimed albums; Late August (Iacuessa Records, 2005) and his most recent, One Peace (Iacuessa Records, 2007), which was selected as one of the Top Ten recordings of 2007 by Paul Blair of Hot House magazine. The sextet performs regularly in the NYC area. August is a member of the JD Allen Trio and Assistant Principal bass with the Brooklyn Philharmonic.
A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado. The youngest of five, Royston attributes his musical interests and palate to his siblings and parents. His older brothers and sister were avid listeners of all genres of music, his mother a strong support, and his father the supervisor of shipping at an established children’s percussion instrument making company. As a result, Royston grew up surrounded by bongos, rhythm sticks and xylophones, recorders, metallophones, glockenspiels, drums and many other percussion instruments. While a sophomore in high school, he attended the Telluride Jazz Camp in Colorado on scholarship, where he studied jazz drum set for the first time with Duffy Jackson and Ed Soph. Royston went on to study marching percussion, classical percussion and Jazz Performance at University of Northern Colorado, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and University of Denver. He graduated with honors from Denver University, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Poetry. While in college, he began playing with well-regarded trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Royston deems his greatest teacher and music mentor. Now a major figure in the Denver music scene, Royston performed with artist such as Fred Fuller, Dale Bruning, Laura Newman, Fred Hess, Dotsero, Leslie Drayton, Joe Keel, Nelson Rangell and Bill Frisell—with whom he still plays. Royston taught music 10 years in public schools before relocating to the east coast in 2006 to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, studying jazz percussion with the great Victor Lewis. He quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Bill Frisell, Les McCann, Dave Douglas, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, John Patitucci, Jenny Scheinman and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Royston continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz.
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Ticket prices for this event were $20 general, $15 seniors, $10 students and alumni (with ID)
This event took take place
Friday, October 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm
PONCHO Hall, 710 East Roy Street, Seattle, WA
Tickets are also available by phone at Brown Paper Tickets, 1.800.838.3006