Lina Allemano Four

Vegetables
Lumo Records LM 2021-11

By Ken Waxman

The experienced musical chefs who make up the Lina Allemano Four sauté the ingredients in this six course musical feast to produce nourishing sounds with the facility of any well-ordered kitchen crew. That’s no surprise since this Toronto-based group has been cooking on trumpeter Allemano’s originals since 2005. Besides her gritty and/or dulcet trumpet textures, the sous chef contributions include reed garnishes from Brodie West’s alto saxophone, bassist’s Andrew Downing upfront throbbing as amuse-bouches plus the nutrients added from Nick Fraser’s chunky drum beats.

The herbivorous banquet is cleverly paced to the final course of “Leafy Greens”. A soaring and slippery exposition which is enriched by savory open horn timbres from Allemano and place-setting cymbal clunks from Fraser is a telling contrast to some of the coarser earlier courses. Allemano’s straightforward elaboration of the folksy theme of “Champignons” for instance is interrupted by a mid section of mordant bass string buzzes. Even grainier, “Oh Avocado” is characterized by the trumpeter digging notes from inside her horn’s body tube with knife-like thrusts that could separate the seed from the flesh in that designated vegetable. Expressing tongue jujitsu to highlight trills as the tune evolves from largo to andante; the climax is reached by blending brass spits and rugged drum pounding.

Overall, while some may prefer more meat-and-potatoes on their plates and in their music, the organic creativity exhibited on Vegetables make it a healthy choice for everyone, not just the vegetarians among us.

Track Listing: 1. Onions 2. Beans 3. Champignons 4. Brussel Sprouts, Maybe Cabbage 5. Oh Avocado 6. Leafy Greens

Personnel: Lina Allemano (trumpet); Brodie West (alto saxophone); Andrew Downing (bass) and Nick Fraser (drums)

—For MusicWorks Spring 2021