I first became acquainted with the music of Scott Allman through his 2011 debut CD ‘Generations’. It demonstrated the flair this Illinois native has for melodic contemporary jazz and now he is back with the totally beguiling ‘Next Stop Home’. It is an album that demonstrates the delightful light and shade of Allman’s musical personality and, with featured performances from Darren Rahn and Lin Rowntree, plus support from some of the finest session musicians the genre has to offer, proves to be a wonderful showcase for his art.
The music was inspired by Allman’s request to contributors to identify places around the world that was special to them and to use poetry and pictures to explain why. The essentially evocative nature of what followed is ably evidenced by the chilled subtlety of ‘Road To Chongqing’ and the more expansive ‘Traveler’ that quickly brings The Rippingtons to mind.
Elsewhere the easy grooving ‘Supersonic’ perfectly illustrates the synergy that exists between his core band members of Gerey Johnson and John Kregor on guitars, Lamar Jones on bass and Khari Parker on drums. In fact this Chicago collective excel throughout and when sax-man Darren Rahn steps up for the hugely infectious ‘Life Within’ he helps deliver a sublime slice of high octane smooth jazz. Much the same can be said of the shimmering ‘Lane’s Cove’ and as Allman keeps things fizzing with ‘Different Sun’ it’s Rahn who again complements Scott’s splendidly rippling keys.
In fact Rahn appears on five of the twelve choice tracks and another is the mid tempo ‘Road Trippin’ that checks all the right contemporary jazz boxes. When sax duties transfer to Phil Denny for ‘Island Bound’ the result is something altogether more tranquil and although ‘Next Stop Home’ includes its fair share of sizzling up-tempo grooves, Allman is arguably at his best when assuming a mellow disposition.
Cases in point are ‘Far Horizon’ and the beautifully deconstructed ‘Gibraltar’s Jewel’ that includes superb guitar from Johnson and spellbinding trumpet from the always-excellent Lin Rowntree.
Equally serene is the magical ‘Departure Bay’ where Allman, Johnson and Kregor share the honors while, as Scott uses the breathtaking ‘Ten Mile Lake’ as his vehicle to ease him into the last lap of this fabulous musical journey home, his ever growing band of fans are left hoping he will pass this way again soon.