Lina Allemano Four
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Lina Allemano Four


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Lina Allemano Four @ Le Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Lina Allemano Four @ Lorne Watson Recital Hall, Brandon University

Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Lina Allemano Four @ Blacksheep Inn, 420 Riverside Dr.

Wakefield, Quebec, Canada

Wakefield, Quebec, Canada

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The best kept secret in music


The subtle Toronto-based trumpeter shows in her impressive sophomore album that as a band leader she can forge compelling ideas, seriously appealing tones and extended lyrical journeys while moving between mainstream and outside modes. Her young band, with alto saxist Brodie West (currently in Amsterdam), bass Andrew Downing and drummer Nick Fraser, revels in interactive challenges and winding up sophisticated tension in ways mindful of the quicksilver movement and huge imagination of early Ornette Coleman and Kenny Wheeler. "Tumbleweed" is a fine example of intricate four-way playing, "Blan" has bluster, and the melancholy threads of "OK Joni" illustrate the collective's consistent ability to sound adventurous and restrained simultaneously. There's a delicious quirky take on Thelonious Monk's already quirky "Evidence," one of only two standards accompanying Allemano's five originals. The album will be released Nov. 7 at the Tranzac club after an 11-stop western Canadian tour. -Geoff Chapman
- The Toronto Star, Sept 2006

The ensemble is a bit unusual, as jazz quartets go, with bass, drums and two horns. With no piano or guitar, the harmonic structure of this material comes only from the bass and the two horns. This puts a lot more responsibility on all three of these players - but also affords a lot more space for purely melodic or more strongly rhythmically inspired improvisation. Allemano's playing [on trumpet] is vocally expressive. She carves her lines with the sensibility of an Ella or a Carmen, and finesses her expressive sound in a way more typical of a saxophonist than a trumpet player. She massages the pitch, but is always in tune. She possesses technique and the power associated with a trumpet, but chooses to use her instrument in a more gentle and probing manner.

Five of the seven tunes on this 2006 release are Allemano originals. The remaining two tunes are Evidence by Thelonious Monk, and My Man's Gone Now by George Gershwin. The mood and tempo of these tunes is all over the map, from helter-skelter up-tempo to mournful and contemplative. The improvisational role circulates pretty freely amongst the four players, with the two horn players often winding around one another like two people engaged in an interesting conversation. Downing [bass] and Fraser [drums] keep things rhythmically on track and grounded to the earth, allowing the horn players the freedom they obviously enjoy in this setting. There is a lot of interaction, and without knowing the group better, it is difficult to say what is written material and what is improvised. The feel of the entire CD is of an improvisational outing. -Lyle Rebbeck
- The Medicine Hat News, Oct 2006

As jazz musicians mature, they're more likely to explore the unknown. Trumpeter Lina Allemano seems headed in that direction with her second and newest CD, Pinkeye. After three years together, the Edmonton-raised horn player and her quartet have loosened up the arrangements to tap their capacity for interaction. The quartet has no chording instruments like piano or guitar, which tends to open up space in a fashion akin to Ornette Coleman's classic '60s quartets. Joining Allemano are Brodie West on alto sax, bassist Andrew Downing and drummer Nick Fraser.

"It's a bit more free and opened up," offers Allemano, who's now based in Toronto. "With that, there's the possibility of letting things go where they want to and letting the guys stretch out."

This is not to suggest the album isn't tuneful. It is, but tracks like the spare covers of Thelonious Monk's Evidence or George Gershwin's My Man's Gone Now push you to listen for the basic musical elements in space and the interactive connections between the players.

Allemano says listening to each other has become very important. "That's what this group is all about. They're all amazing listeners and that's what you need if you're doing a more open thing, being spontaneous, and cohesive and interactive. It takes an enormous amount of concentration and energy. I don't really want to hear them playing the same thing every night. I want to hear them taking risks, and hopefully the audience comes along for the ride. We like to have fun with things." -Roger Levesque
- Edmonton Journal, Oct 2006

Less is more for Toronto trumpeter Lina Allemano: after fronting bands that have been tied to the sound of the piano or the guitar, she's going chordless with her new quartet. And the results, as documented on her Pinkeye CD, suggest that she might just be onto something.

"It's really fun to have all that space," she says of her working unit, which also includes saxophonist Brodie West, bassist Andrew Downing, and drummer Nick Fraser. "And the tunes I write are pretty simple, harmonically, so the new lineup sort of lends itself to that. If the tunes were more harmonically dense, they might not work as well in this format."

What that means for the casual listener is that Allemano's compositions rely more on melody than on complex structures. The Edmonton-born musician has always been a lyrical player, but that singing quality is more apparent than ever on her new material - and that's especially true of Pinkeye's tribute to a Canadian icon [Joni Mitchell], 'OK Joni'.

Pinkeye also boasts inventive versions of Thelonious Monk's 'Evidence' and George Gershwin's 'My Man's Gone Now', so it's clear that Allemano is not only inspired by confessional songwriters with Canadian roots. In fact, her post-bop chops have served her well in the Toronto jazz scene, which can safely be characterized as a little more conservative than Vancouver's.

Things might be changing, however. As Allemano tells it, her adopted home town is beginning to generate a community of underground musicians with a fresh take on the art of improvisation - and she's in the middle of that, too. "There's this whole other scene that doesn't get much attention, but it's pretty happening," she reports. "People are playing really incredible, creative, bizarre music. I'm getting more and more involved in that, which is kind of weird; I feel like I'm living in these two parallel worlds. But it's great. I totally thrive on it." -Alexander Varty
- The Georgia Straight (Vancouver), Oct 2006


Selected Discography:

Lina Allemano Four
Pinkeye, LUMO Records 2006

Lina Allemano Four
Concentric, LUMO Records 2003

Tim Posgate
Tim Posgate Hornband Featuring Howard Johnson, Guildwood Records 2005

Tim Posgate
Jazzstory, Guildwood Records 2002

Rosemary Galloway/Jane Fair
Waltz Out, Independent 2002

Highwire, True North Records 2002

Rob Clutton
Holstein Dream Pageant, Snail Bong Bong Records 2002

Achilla Orru
Dho-Mach, Independent 2004

William Carn/Lina Allemano
Old Souls, Carn-Allemano Productions 1998


Feeling a bit camera shy


Lina Allemano is a Toronto jazz trumpeter/composer with an established career playing, recording and touring internationally. As well as fronting her band Lina Allemano Four and the improvising group "N", she is also a member of Tim Posgate's Jazzstory & Hornband and the Jane Fair / Rosemary Galloway Quintet. Lina appears on over 25 recordings including her own newly released CD, Lina Allemano Four Pinkeye.

Lina was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and began playing professionally at the age of 15. She moved to Toronto in 1993 and has since had the opportunity to perform with jazz greats including tuba-legend Howard Johnson, Don Byron, Dave Holland, Mike Murley, and Joe Lovano, and she has recently been invited to play with Ingrid Jensen in Dave Douglas' Festival of New Trumpet Music in New York City.

Lina was winner of the 2005 National Jazz Awards' CBC Galaxie Rising Star and she was nominated for the 2005 Canadian Independent Music Awards Favorite Jazz Artist and the 2005 National Jazz Awards Trumpeter of the Year.

Lina has studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts Residencies and Jazz Workshops. She has received support from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and Yamaha Canada Music.

Lina Allemano Four, Pinkeye is Lina's second CD as leader and it showcases her quirky yet deeply lyrical songwriting style combined with her expressive flair on the trumpet and knack for the unexpected. Her group is known for its forward motion and inventiveness, and they are definitely not afraid of taking risks. These 4 creative musicians cross over from improvised music to jazz in their musical lives, and hence lend a fresh and free-spirited feel to the new recording. In the spirit of Ornette Coleman, their music has both a strong melodic concept and an inherent looseness and openness. A stimulating dynamic of interaction and spontaneity assures that the group's live performances are always lighthearted and full of surprises.

Alto saxophonist Brodie West currently resides in Amsterdam and has recorded with Dutch master drummer Han Bennink. Bassist Andrew Downing won a Juno Award and the Grand Prix de Jazz for his group The Great Uncles of the Revolution. Drummer Nick Fraser co-leads the group Drumheller and is one of Toronto's most in-demand musicians.

Lina Allemano Four's past highlights have included: 2005 Atlantic Jazz Festival in Halifax; TVO's Studio 2 'In Performance' Oct 2004; 2004 Kingston Jazz Festival; CBC Radio Jazz Beat Studio Recording/Broadcast Apr 2003; 2003 Ottawa International Jazz Festival; 2003 Concentric Tour across Canada. They have also played many concerts in Toronto throughout the past several years.

Lina Allemano Four brings their newly released CD, Pinkeye, on tour in Canada through Oct/Nov 2006 with support from Canada Council for the Arts.