Lina Allemano Pinkeye

The story of Lina Allemano’s second album is the wonderful interweaving of Brodie West’s sax and Allemano’s trumpet. Allemano’s cool reserve on her first disc has become more assertive on this effort. The leadoff title track has a wide open melody that recalls the better days of Charlie Haden’s Quartet West. Things get spikier with "BLAN,” the freest piece on the disc, where she reaches Bobby Bradford-like heights, thrusting and parrying with West’s contributions. Often, bassist Andrew Downing acts as a harmonic referee setting the harmonic course with one note from his bass. There are very few true solos on this disc; it is structured freedom with riffs and a few changes giving shape to the proceedings. "Tumbleweed” is a great composition; it’s evocative of its namesake, with a rolling rhythm that breaks into freedom at the four-minute mark but is always stitched together with melody. Gershwin’s "My Man’s Gone Now” is an outstanding choice for a cover, as the melancholy (boy, can Allemano do melancholy...) melody is given major gravitas by all players. A tip of the hat to drummer Nick Fraser, who’s adaptable to any situation, has an ear for melody and is also pretty damn funky when required. (Lumo)