|Kollage is an award-winning band under the direction of Archie Alleyne (drums) and co-leader Doug Richardson (tenor saxophone). Listening to their new release At This Time, its not hard to figure out why. A tight unit comprised of two of the hottest young musicians in the country Alexis Baro on trumpet and Robi Botos on piano, ably supported by Mei Kelly on trombone and Ron Johnston on double bass. These guys are smokin at this session, recorded live at the Old Mill Inn by Jake Langley, with great sound and an audience that obviously loved every minute of the show.
The title track At This Time, a Donald Byrd composition, kick-starts the recording and goes skyward from there. Botos launches into a solo that is fluid, lyrical and very fast. Baro kicks it up a notch with a solo that is out of this world, a powerful, full sounding, dynamic player, a joy to behold. The band is swinging at double time, led by the Philly Jo Jones styling of Archie Alleyne, who takes the final solo of the track and guides the song to an energetic conclusion.
From glorious to magnificent, we move forward with a blues by Horace Silver, Lonely Woman, Baro sets the tone with some magnificent playing. He hits beautiful blue notes and slides into haunting sustain, evoking emotions from joy to sadness all in the space of one bar. The song goes on for six and one half minutes and you find yourself wishing they would have extended it to a more respectable fifteen or twenty.
Ad-Dis-Un by Kenny Drew highlights Mei Kelly with some great trombone playing and opens the door for Doug Richardson whose tenor playing in the mid register is very smooth and lyrical. Other exceptional tracks include, Bloc-C-Groove by Alexis Baro, Archie Meets Art, a Bill King composition, and the closer On The Ginza by Wayne Shorter.
There are no disappointing moments on this CD, from recording quality to song selection this is a winner. An enjoyable listen from start to finish and one that will get a lot of airplay on my CD player.
report by Paul J. Youngman KJA Jazz Advocate Dec. '06