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21 April 2009

Byron Allen Trio (ESP)

Source: Jerry's, 4 May 2002, priced at $7 but discounted to $6. Thanks, Jerry!

I'll let you in on a secret about Dislocated Underbite Spinal Alphabetical Encourager Templates: those images you see on every post, of the album under discussion, are mostly stolen from elsewhere on the Internet. I only bother to snap a photo if I can't find an existing image that matches my album cover. So this pristine b&w jpg to the left is actually from Amazon and probably represents the CD issue. My LP, an original on ESP from '65, has this image on a yellowing piece of paper pasted on a thick warped black cardboard sleeve. The vinyl itself is in terrible condition -- probably rated "poor" if I was a collecting type -- and sounds accordingly fucked. The surface noise actually overpowers the music, and let's be honest - this wouldn't be anyone's favorite ESP record anyway. Though that may be because the Byron Allen Trio are a bit overshadowed by some of the label's other big names. I don't know any of these guys but they play well, finding a post-Ornette vibe that keeps taking three steps forward and then two steps to the side. Drummer Theo Robinson plays like a trappier Sunny Murray, and Allen's alto is a sneaky one. Maceo Gilchrist is the bassist but like many of these early ESP sides, the recording doesn't do any favors to the low end so there's points where I have to strain to hear. During his solos the surface noise destroys any hope of understanding but it's cool - it's like hearing a record from 100 years ago. The cover art is actually pretty cool in an introspective/freaky way.

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