Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Album Review: Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom - Glitter Wolf

Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom
Glitter Wolf
**** out of *****

The fantastic drummer Allison Miller leads a group of experimental jazz players on Glitter Wolf, a diverse, constantly exciting and instantly enjoyable jazz offering. While never easy, this dense and powerful record propels forward with unique arraignments and Miller's driving force.

Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom includes Miller, violinist Jenny Scheinman, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, bassist Todd Sickafoose and pianist Myra Melford. The group was touring for two years together before entering the studio to record the ten songs presented here.

Opener sets the tone as "Congratulations and Condolences" kicks off the record on a high note with killer drum beats, group interplay which allows for soloing and locking in as needed. The loose acoustic bass thumps from Sickafoose and beefy clarinet blows from Goldberg stand out but the whole collective cooks. 

The piano and killer groove light the way for "Malaga" which gets the head bobbing with Latin flair while "Zev-The Phoenix" is a more restrained reflective piece. The whole band locks in for the bebop start of "Daughter and Sun" before moving into scenic wide open spaces while album closer "Valley of The Giants" works with layers of various percussion to wrap up the record.

Things can become a bit cluttered at times, "The Ride" feels like five different songs in one and the changes can be jarring as when Miller completely drops out and leaves Scheinman's strings alone. While those transitions can be clunky, when the group is up and running the rough patches are easily forgotten. 

Miller's drums are dynamite throughout as she leads from the back on tunes like the double wolf combo of the expansive "White Wolf" and the stop/starting of the title track. The odd funky groove of "Welcome Hotel" is just one more showcase for Boom Tic Boom's collective style as Miller and company shine bright throughout.
Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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