When: Sat., Sept. 14, 9:30 p.m. 2013
When I wrote about Toronto trumpeter Lina Allemano in 2010, I noted the unmistakable influence of Ornette Coleman on the scrappy quartet that recorded Jargon, her most recent studio album—but I also pointed out that she transcends that obvious inspiration. Last year’s Live at the Tranzac (Lumo), cut at a Toronto club with drummer Nick Fraser, bassist Andrew Downing, and alto saxophonist Brodie West (who also participated in the Ex’s project with Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria), sounds very similar, but by now I’m familiar enough with Allemano’s aesthetic that Coleman doesn’t even cross my mind. The front line has an endearingly loosey-goosey rapport, and each player cajoles the others or tweaks Allemano’s catchy themes; everyone takes the occasional extended solo, but the most rewarding moments often arise from ensemble interplay. The rhythm section maintains a freewheeling swing sensibility as it carves out space for the soloists, prods the action with knotty grooves or scampering clatter, and provides focused bursts of propulsion (such as the lunging turnaround in “Jack”). The band cools down its usually ebullient freebop on “Hush,” where all four musicians dial back the volume but raise the heat with the taut, fragile intensity of their entangled lines—the horn tones are so tightly restrained that they threaten to dissolve into brittle silence. —Peter Margasak Tone Step opens.