New York City-based multi-reedman/composer Allen Won is an artist who fluently segues between the classical and jazz idioms. Nonetheless, he shines brilliantly as a jazz artist possessing a strong compositional pen abetted by warmhearted intentions and lofty aspirations. And the mystical sensibilities inherent throughout this outing emanate from Won’s interpretations of the Tibetan Chakra system, which pertains to whirling energies coexisting with the natural elements.
Won and his quartet enact a sense of curiosity, whether the musicians are pushing full-steam ahead via ascending countercurrents and yearning lines, or when they purvey quaint balladry. Possessing a bit of a grainy tone and muscular attack on tenor sax, Won is outwardly comfortable within a variety of modes. He often soars skyward with passion and fire, yet can spin a memorable melody into an improvisational launching pad. In addition, pianist Rave Tesar looms as a near-perfect foil for the saxophonist, largely due to his blazing arpeggios, combined with a delicate touch and rapidly flowing single note runs. Other highpoints throughout the program include; snappy funk grooves, and harmonious dreamscapes amid the quartet’s thunderous exchanges. (A top pick for 2005.... )