Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2009 release from the bassist/composer, his ninth album overall. Think Free is part of a paradigm shift that began with his 2005 release, Cowboy Justice. ''I wanted a band that rocked,'' says Allison of his changing sound. ''I was moving away from the Chamber-Jazz elements of Medicine Wheel and Peace Pipe and trying to incorporate other sounds into my music. I continue to try to get to something personal.'' Cowboy Justice, Little Things Run the World and now Think Free are all one continuous train of thought.
Down Beat (p.73) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he floating ease with which the tunes on THINK FREE unfold, whether painted with minimalist strokes or dappled with edgy electronic voicings, provides its own rewards."
JazzTimes (p.56) - "Allison himself works in some brief moments of solo spotlight but mostly keeps his mind and ears on the conceptual clock..."
Billboard (p.61) - "THINK FREE is a seamless follow-up to last year's 'Little Things Run the World' and delivers sensual-to-mystical lyricism with subtle grooves."
Personnel: Steve Cardenas (guitar); Jenny Scheinman (violin); Shane Endsley (trumpet); Rudy Royston (drums).
Audio Mixers: Matt Balitsaris; Ben Allison.
THINK FREE is the third recording veteran bassist and bandleader Ben Allison has recorded for Palmetto and his eighth overall. His first two, COWBOY JUSTICE (2006) and LITTLE THINGS RUN THE WORLD(2008), were signposts to this one. On the former, Allison used funk and even rock sign posts--even as he relied on the jazz tradition to make a political statement about 9/11 and then-president George W. Bush's two wars. On the latter, Allison used his compositional and arranging skills to create a series of musical montages that came out of the jazz framework and looked (albeit in a skewed way) at the schemata of popular music in order to express harmonic ideas, and he used colors and textures to articulate ideas that were clearly outside the jazz idiom. It is a wonderfully complex set that is nonetheless extremely listenable.