Bob James and David Sanborn pay tribute to Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond on their brand new disc, "Quartette Humaine", the first collaboration between the pair since their Grammy Award winning "Double Vision" release in 1986. On their second go-round, the old masters offer up an all-acoustic quartet recital propelled by drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus. It's a poignant coincidence that the recording session occurred just a week after the passing of Brubeck, who the protagonists were thinking of as they gestated the new project. "I felt-and I still do when I listen to the Brubeck quartet-that they were taking us on an adventure, and some of the adventure was challenging," James explains. "Just when you thought you knew where you were going, they'd go somewhere different."
Far from new to the jazz world, saxophonist JD Allen has been a stalwart of the New York scene for more that a decade, lending his astute playing to a string of headline jazz names, from Betty Carter to Cindy Blackman. His own usually piano-less ensemble explores new territory with works that challenge preconceptions and expand the expressive potential of jazz composition. Eleven new pieces are highlighted on "Grace", a musical monument to his creative spirit featuring dexterous solos, melodic tapestries, imaginative textures and complex rhythms. Allen will take part in the Iowa City Jazz Festival in July.