Lina Allemano Four Concentric

This is the debut release by Lina Allemano, one of Toronto's foremost trumpeters. The band under her leadership has been together for three years, and the cohesiveness shows in interpreting Allemano's complex and interesting tunes. Each member adds little personal touches. Guitarist David Occhipinti has an understated tone throughout, though he finds many ways to introduce texture and tension into his parts. Drummer Anthony Michelli plays with variety, from the metallic clatter-funk of the title track to the barely-brushed intro to "OK Joni.” On bass, Andrew Downing is both timekeeper and a lower counterpoint to Occhipinti. If anything, it's Allemano who doesn't take liberties with her own compositions. She has a great tone throughout, her playing is very lyrical and precise but not overly dynamic or texturally varied — it's more straight ahead than her work with Jazzstory or the Rob Clutton band. The best pieces are those in which she cuts loose the most: "Dreams"' slow pace shows her exploring dynamics and tone and "Prairie,” with its cool autopanned guitar, showcases wide open soloing appropriate to its title. The best tune to showcase the kind of vibe Allemano has lent to other projects is the closer "West Side BBQ," which dabbles in free time between melodic statements and shows what she can do with a burnished tone and floating lyrical passages on top of Concentric's fiercest rhythms. The tunes are the highlight of this disc, and are bound to take on even more personality live. (Lumo)