An Interview with Ben Allison

Mar 4, 2008

Bassist's latest recording is Think Free


The internationally recognized bassist, composer, educator and bandleader, Ben Allison has returned with another disc that sustains his well deserved high regard in the industry.
Think Free, bassist/composer Ben Allison's ninth album, is part of a paradigm shift that began with his 2005 Palmetto Records release, Cowboy Justice. "I wanted a band that rocked," says Allison of his changing sound. "I was moving away from the chamber-jazz elements of Medicine Wheel and Peace Pipe and trying to incorporate other sounds into my music. I continue to try to get to something personal. Cowboy Justice, Little Things Run the World (Palmetto, 2008), and now Think Free are all one continuous train of thought."
Allison is joined this time by Jenny Scheinman on violin, which adds a new layer of texture to the proceedings. The band is Ben Allison - bass, Jenny Scheinman - violin, Shane Endsley - trumpet, Steve Cardenas - guitar and Rudy Royston - drums.
Bassist Ben Allison has released eight previous albums of original music ? Little Things Run the World(2008), Cowboy Justice (2006), Buzz (2004), Peace Pipe (2002), Riding the Nuclear Tiger (2001), Third Eye (1999), and Medicine Wheel (1998) on Palmetto Records, and his 1996 debut Seven Arrows on the Koch Jazz label.
Ben Allison is a "visionary composer, adventurous improviser, and strong organizational force on the New York City jazz scene, [and] has emerged as a rising star over the past decade" (JazzTimes). Born in 1966 in New Haven, Connecticut, Allison has performed internationally with world class musicians, appeared on over 40 albums by various artists and has written music for film, national television and radio, including the theme for the National Public Radio (NPR) show On the Media. At the age of twenty-five, Ben Allison formed the Jazz Composers Collective, a musician-run, non-profit organization based in New York City dedicated to constructing an environment where artists can develop and explore new music. With his groups Peace Pipe, Man Size Safe, Medicine Wheel and the Kush Trio Ben Allison has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Brazil winning fans and building new audiences. In summer 2007 Allison performed at the Toyota-Scion of Iowa City Jazz Festival. KIOS Last Call host Chris Cooke caught up with him for an interview there. Click on the link at the top of this article to hear that interview. Recording Engineer: Mike Hansen.(Photo credit: Rebecca Cooke.) Visit Ben Allison's website at