PETE YELLIN — Dance Of Allegra (review)

PETE YELLIN — Dance Of Allegra album cover Album · 1972 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
Herbie Hancock’s Sextet of the early 70s,was a short lived ensemble, but the members of that group went on to record with other artists as leaders playing a similar experimental electric fusion. Many already know about similar groups led by Eddie Henderson, Bennie Maupin and Julius Priester, but lesser known are Sextet influenced recording dates led by Norman Connors, Buddy Terry and Pete Yellin. Many of these sessions not only included former Sextet members, but also musicians from the early versions of Return to Forever and Weather Report. Saxophonist Pete Yellin’s first recording as a leader, “Dance of Allegra”, features Henderson and Billy Hart from the Sextet, plus Stanley Clarke from RTF and Dom Um Romao from Weather Report. Back then Kenny Barron was often the fill in for fusion dates that Herbie couldn’t make, and he does an outstanding job on the Fender Rhodes. Whereas a lot of these musicians approached fusion from an RnB angle, Pete was a bopper and his playing reflects his interest in Charlie Parker, Phil Woods and Eric Dolphy. Indeed, Yellin would finish out his career with many fine hard bop outings and not much fusion.

“Dance of Allegra” opens with some Brazilian flavored grooves, played aggressively in the style of the times with many solos veering into free jazz terrain. The sound is very electric and almost psychedelic, although not quite as effects laden as Herbie’s classic recordings. Side one closes with an extended free bop jam that really fits with Yellin’s alto style. Side two is in more of a funk-fusion style, with the first track being the more agro, and the closer being the one track with a medium tempo, and features Yellin on flute. Needless to say, if you liked Herbie’s Sextet and its many spin off groups, you’ll probably like this one too. The playing is excellent, and the recording quality is bold and in your face.
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