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08 May 2014

Panorama CD Review

by Stuart Broomer (for "Jazz, Eh?") | The Whole Note

Another Vancouver band that shows the positive effects of working regularly is the Mike Allen Quartet with pianist Miles Black, bassist Adam Thomas and drummer Julian MacDonough. Embracing a broad modernism, the group has hosted the official jam sessions of the Vancouver Festival for years and they’re also the jazz ensemble-in-residence at Western Washington University where saxophonist Allen directs the jazz program. On Panorama (Cellar Live CCL121013), trombonist Hugh Fraser, whose suave bluster has long graced Vancouver jazz, is the featured guest. Allen has his own sound, at once forceful and muffled, and it gives his work immediate dimension, but every musician here contributes to a consistent sense of substance. The opening Get Back may be playful jazz funk, but Allen’s Let Go Rise Atone and Black’s San Miguel are imbued with luminous depths.