Tenor saxophonist JD Allen has devoted much of his output to an incendiary trio with Gregg August and Rudy Royston, but Barracoon finds him mixing it up with up-and-coming bassist Ian Kenselaar and drummer Nic Cacioppo. The full-intensity, sonically and harmonically wide-open chordless trio language of his previous work is not only still present but also evolving. Kenselaar’s switch from upright to electric bass on “G sus” and the deeply felt out-of-tempo pieces “Ursa Major” and “The Immortal (H. Lacks)” expands the sonic parameters in Allen’s work, even as “Communion” (based on Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation”) and the closing classic ballad reaffirm the Detroiter’s straight-ahead jazz roots. The title Barracoon is borrowed from Zora Neale Hurston, while “The Immortal” takes inspiration from the late Henrietta Lacks, whose cervical cancer cells, harvested without her consent, were used to generate an “immortal” cell line still used in research to this day. These themes of African American history gain extra resonance in 2019, commonly marked as the 400th anniversary of slavery’s arrival to the Virginia Colony.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada