CMJ - 7/19/99, p.33
"...bristles with spirituality, reminding one somewhat of a clasic Impulse! session from the '60s or '70s. THe music's edge...[expresses] its sense of reaching, its mission and its vision."
JazzTimes - 12/99, pp.145-6
"...continues to provide a thoughtful, challenging outlet for his against-the-grain colleagues and kindred spirits in Medicine Wheel....strikes a wonderful balance between form and freedom....provocative material..."
Ben Allison & Medicine Wheel: Ben Allison (guitar, acoustic bass); Michael Blake, Ted Nash (saxophone, bass clarinet); Ron Horton (trumpet, flugelhorn); Tomas Ulrich (cello); Frank Kimbrough (acoustic, prepared & toy pianos); Ara Dinkjian (oud, cumbus); Jeff Ballard (drums).
Producers: Ben Allison, The Jazz Composers Collective.
Recorded at Maggie's Farm, Pipersville, Pennsylvania on December 5 & 6, 1998. Includes liner notes by Ben Allison.
Personnel: Ben Allison (guitar, acoustic bass); Tomas Ulrich (cello); Michael Blake (bass clarinet, saxophone, soprano saxophone); Ted Nash (bass clarinet, saxophone, tenor saxophone); Ron Horton (trumpet, flugelhorn); Frank Kimbrough (piano, toy piano); Jeff Ballard (drums).
Liner Note Author: Ben Allison.
Recording information: Maggie's Farm, Pipersville, PA (12/05/1998/12/06/1998).
Photographer: Lourdes Delgado.
So successfully realized was bassist and composer Ben Allison's previous album, MEDICINE WHEEL, that the same ensemble is here again, with that album's name now adopted as their own. The septet has been expanded to an octet, with the addition of an oud player. That's in addition to piano, drums, bass, trumpet, two reed players and a cello. Allison's writing, already inviting and inventive, has now become even richer and broader. Making full use of this unique instrumentation, he matches timbres with exciting results. Bowed cello may dance around the saxophone,s or create a mist over the drums and bass. Drummer Jeff Ballard is dazzling throughout--propulsive of "Four Folk Songs" and subtly orchestral in other places. Allison's music is ideally suited to this ensemble he's composing for, and they shine playing his material. It's a win-win situation!