May 22, 2024

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CD review: JD Allen – Americana, Vol. 2 – 2022: Video, CD cover

Together with ‘Americana: Musings on Jazz and Blues’ (SCD2155X), and ‘Barracoon’ (SCD2177), two of JD Allen’s previous Savant releases, ‘Americana Vol 2’ forms a trilogy of sorts, exploring and encapsulating a universal spirit based in roots and reflection.

But despite the profound political, racial, financial and historic issues examined by Allen and company, at the central musical core of all three recordings is the underestimated but crucial role the blues has played in the history of jazz and how it continues to evolve and influence the art form today. On ‘Americana Vol. 2’ Allen continues this investigation with his long-time colleagues Gregg August and Rudy Royston, but is now joined by guitarist Charlie Hunter, who shares not only Allen’s interest in the blues and its legacy, but they also share many similar life experiences.

As Allen himself says, “(Charlie’s) music brings light to me as a listener. When we met, we found out that we grew up in different areas of the country, but our experiences happen to be very similar. That’s Americana right there. I wanted that on this record.” Here the blues not only provides a welcome outlet for tension and gentle melodicism but it also gives us an unflinching look into deep-seated and long-lived injustices, particularly via the almost expressionistic utterances of three trio-only tracks. Once again JD Allen shows himself to be a player and composer as remarkable for his directness of communication as he is for the sometimes unforgiving sternness of his message.

1. Up South 6:30
2. This World Is a Mean World 5:45
3. The Werk Song 4:47
4. Hammer and Hoe 4:21
5. You Don’t Know Me 5:05
6. Jackie and Johnny 3:24
7. Mickey and Mallory 3:28
8. A Mouthful of Forevers 3:35
9. The Battle of Blair Mountain 3:47
10. Irene (Mother) 3:31
11. Down South 3:51

JD Allen (tenor saxophone),
Charlie Hunter (guitar, except tracks 6-8),
Gregg August (bass),
Rudy Royston (drums)

JD Allen - Americana, Vol. 2 - Amazon.com Music

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