Bar code: 8427328422208
David Allen is a guitarist and composer based in New York City. His music is both lyrical and challenging, combining memorable melodies with complex harmonies and shifting rhythms.
Among the notable players he has worked with are Mark Shim, Donny McCaslin, Chris Cheek, Matt Wilson, Dennis Irwin, Ben Street and Eric McPherson. His trios and quartets draw from the best young players on the NY scene and have performed at Birdland, The 55 Bar, Cornelia St. Cafe, The Knitting Factory and CBGB's Lounge.
Allen's debut CD, "Untold Stories", features saxophonist Seamus Blake, known for his work with John Scofield and Dave Douglas, and drummer Mark Ferber, who has become increasingly busy working with legends such as Fred Hersch, Steve Coleman, Scott Colley, Drew Gress, and Kenny Werner. And, bassist Carlo DeRosa, who is known for his superlative technique and musicality, and who also works with Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, Clarence Penn, and Vijay Iyer.
"Dave Allen makes a fiery and eloquent showing with Untold Stories.
Allen brings daunting chops, full-bodied tone and melodic sensitivity
to the table on this all-original set."
-David Adler, Jazz Times Magazine
"Having attempted to play the guitar, I have a special place in my heart for guitarists, especially when in the aural presence of a master like Dave Allen, who brings to mind the ironic cartoon where one guitarist is watching another play and the bubble says, I can do that.
Many guitarists come out of schools like Berklee with blazing technique, but they pale to the ear quickly when you realize technique is all there is. Allen has no seeming limit to his technique, but he always puts it to good musical ends. His lines are full of twists and turns, but I always hear thought and emotion, not just flying fingers. His music feels very laid back, so much so that at times I found myself wishing for some more bite; but on the other hand, Allen is a master of playing a line with chordal accompaniment, often sounding like two independent instruments.
All of the tunes on Untold Stories are composed by Allen, who proves himself to be quite a melodic composer. A number of tracks, including In Some Human City, Paradigm Shift, and Out Of The Trap, have melodies that etched themselves in my mind. The music is full of subtlety, and neither the melodic phrasing nor the harmony is overtly obvious.
Including Seamus Blake on five tracks was a good decision, because it enables Allen to have someone to play against and comp under. Blake adds much spice and a countering sharper edge to Allens mellow guitar sound. While Allen never really battles Blake, which would have been nice to hear, the alternating sounds on those tracks makes them attractive.
There are a number of standout tracks. Searching is a simply beautiful piece with strong echoes of Jim Hall both tonally and in the phrasing, technique, and feel. In this haunting track, Allen uses a very difficult in-time sliding technique that reminds me of something Django Reinhardt used to do, although he picked his slide in time. An odd length/meter motive sounds in Paradigm Shift, where Allen burns for the first time using very long lines and another display of his sliding technique, now much faster.
On Samba 7, which doesnt sound like a samba at all, Allen again displays his ability to use his technique for the music as the lines just flow. DeRosa (who lately seems plagued by being underrecorded) answers with a truly amazing bass solo. Ending the record is Uneasy, which is the first straight cooker, here on a boppish line, played at first in unison by Blake and Allen, and then taken to cool heights.
Untold Stories is very high quality mainstream jazz, and one does not have to be a guitarist to appreciate the musical minds at work. After listening to the disc for some time, I felt like I knew something of Allen, and I wanted to know more, since his personality, though understated, comes through."
-Budd Kopman, All About Jazz
"The label Fresh Sounds and its owner Jordi Pujol continue to mine the untapped wealth to be found in New York with the New Talent series, discovering scores of fine musicians playing and writing under the radar, extending the jazz tradition by exploring new colors in which to improvise. The latest is guitarist Dave Allen.
Allen - who has a regular trio gig at the New York club Push, where he plays every Monday - has come to be known for both his sense of melodic lyricism as well as for adventure in the realms of harmony and rhythm. He's played with a number of newer as well as established musicians including Dennis Irwin, Donny McCaslin and Chris Cheek. Untold Stories, his debut CD, reflects his concentration on developing a personal sound on his instrument as well as a growing compositional richness that allows for both individual expression and dense group interplay. All of the tunes
here are Allen's, though they superbly show off his sidemen. Check out saxophonist Seamus Blake's sinewy lines on the album's opener "Momentum" and the rhythm section's throbbing pulse on "In Some Human City", with a line reminiscent of Stravinsky's The Firebird. It reveals that the leader is smart enough to utilize his own sound to create sound pictures to tell a story.
Compositional highlights include "Searching", a beautiful ballad showcasing bassist Carlo DeRosa's arco skills and powerful use of space; the delicate "Out of the Trap" in which tenor and guitar state the simple quiet line before being buoyed rhythmically in their solo work by DeRosa and drummer Mark Ferber.
Untold Stories is notable for its consistency of intention and for the introduction of yet another voice finding its way in the inventive world of creative improvisation."
-Donald Elfman, All About Jazz Magazine
"Theres a true sensuality to the guitarists sound. On the new Untold Stories, he brings a pearly tone to a piece called 'Searching,' unfolding his lines with an edge-of-your-seat stealth."
-Jim Macnie, The Village Voice
"Untold Stories, the debut CD from New York Jazz Guitarist Dave Allen,
showcases an exciting and unique player in the mold of Pat Metheny, Ben
Monder, Jonathan Kreisberg and Adam Rogers. Monster chops, harmonic
resourcefulness, strong melodic sense, seamless group interaction,
considerable compositional talent and a kick-ass group of talented players
make this CD an electrifying piece of work."
-Lyle Robinson, Jazzguitarlife.com
"There is a true sensuality to the guitarists sound. On the new Untold
Stories, he brings a pearly tone to a piece called Searching, unfolding his
lines with an edge-of-your-seat stealth."
-Jim MacNie, Village voice
"Superlative technique full of good ideas."
-Guitar Player Magazine
"Allen's guitar played the role of Jarrett's keyboards in this piano-less
quartet -- reaching for melodic lines while also setting the theme and often
the rhythm off which the other played... and brought the audience to a
higher plane in the Jazzosphere."
-New Haven Independent