Veteran jazz bassist steps up to ?rst tier.
With a warm tone, austere interplay and multifaceted compositions, bassist Ben Allison and his new group, Man Size Safe, have made a valuable addition to the growing discography of bass-led jazz recordings. These settings were once a novelty—legends like Paul Chambers and Oscar Pettiford rarely took the lead—but now they’re becoming commonplace. Allison, a 15-year vet of the New York jazz scene and leader of stellar groups like Medicine Wheel and The Herbie Nichols Project, brings an excellent cast of sidemen: Reedman Michael Blake and trumpeter Ron Horton tell abstract truths with their bluesy solos, and guitarist Steve Cardenas adds alluring textures to every tune. The repertoire ranges from pithy originals to a sterling rendition of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.”