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Wed, Mar 27

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Arcata

Allison, Cardenas, & Nash

Presented by Redwood Jazz Alliance

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Allison, Cardenas, & Nash
Allison, Cardenas, & Nash

Time & Location

Mar 27, 2024, 8:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Arcata, 1251 9th St, Arcata, CA 95521, USA

About the event

Bassist and composer Ben Allison is somebody we can’t get enough of: from the moment he burst onto the national scene in the mid-1990s, we’ve loved his music, his playing, and the company he keeps. That’s why he was one of the first artists we set our sights on when we founded the RJA back in 2006, and it’s also why he’s been a repeat visitor over the years—with his own groups Man Size Safe and Think Free in 2008 and 2018, respectively, and with sometime bandmate Michael Blake’s Tiddy Boom in 2016.

As for company: the members of Allison, Cardenas, & Nash are companions of longstanding. Ben Allison and Ted Nash have known each other since the early 90s; Ben appeared on an album of Ted’s in 1993 (and many others since), and Ted was both a member of Ben’s late-90s group Medicine Wheel and a co-conspirator in the Herbie Nichols Project, an ensemble they formed with other founders of the musician-led, non-profit Jazz Composers Collective to honor the forgotten mid-century pianist, a contemporary of Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. (With pianist Frank Kimbrough, Allison also penned the liner notes for the 1997 box set Herbie Nichols: The Complete Blue Note Recordings.) Guitarist Steve Cardenas, meanwhile, joined Allison for the latter’s 2006 release Cowboy Justice—and never left. The three first united as a trio in 2011. Such a lengthy history of creative collaboration means that the bandmates, who take turns arranging for the group, weave musical conversations that are full of friendly familiarity but also subtlety and surprise.

Allison, Cardenas, & Nash modeled their co-operative trio after reedist/composer Jimmy Giuffre’s drummerless units of the 1950s and 60s. At a time when jazz was heading in directions that were sometimes wild and expressionistic, musicians like Giuffre were choosing different paths, envisioning quieter music that embraced aspects of “free” playing while maintaining strong elements of blues and folk. Prior to this year, AC&N had released three albums: Quiet Revolution (2016/2018), dedicated to the music of Giuffre and Jim Hall; Somewhere Else: West Side Story Songs (2019); and Healing Power: The Music of Carla Bley (2022). Their latest, Tell the Birds I Said Hello: The Music of Herbie Nichols¸ returns to the Nichols catalog and introduces several newly unearthed compositions by the still-overlooked genius.

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