Review: Jim Allchin – Q.E.D.
Posted on: Thursday, Dec 19, 2013
Jim Allchin – Q.E.D.
(Sandy Key Music: CD-JA003)
From growing up in the Florida orange grove area in a rural farming community, where he applied his fathers work ethic and graduated with a computer degree which in turn gained him a position at Microsoft; Jim Allchin in time worked his way up to the position of co-president of Platforms and Services.
In 2003, after becoming aware of a serious health problem, he completely changed direction and in 2007 he embraced his passion for the blues and began a new career; now, with this his third album, (he previously released an album of home recordings ‘Enigma’ in 2009) he has created a tantalising and contrasting mixture of the cool, crisp Arctic wind blasting string bending guitar sound of ‘The Iceman’ Albert Collins with the intensely imploring lyrical sensitivity of Jeff Beck, coupled with the temperature rising warmth of the horn section that is The New York Brass.
The thirteen original numbers here feature excellent performances from fellow players; Ben Smith; drums and percussion, (he also co-produced the album with Jim), Dan Dean; bass, Brooke Lizotte; keyboards and Owen Gurry; strings.
The overall feel of the album is one of modern blues, dreamscapes, hints of brassy New York, rolling rumbas and gently comforting New Orleans strolling. “Stop And Go,” starts the proceedings with a deep bass intro that is taken up by brassy urging horns that lead into a fast paced boogie, sweetly screaming guitar solos punch their way through to the surface.
This pace and feeling is maintained with “Getting Old,” An organ and brass propelled shuffle interspersed with layered ringing and trilling guitar while a wheezy organ dances with ephemeral horns. There are three instrumentals starting with; “Chime Blues,” its gentle calming, percussive atmosphere encourages Jim to tease out of his guitar emotive, sensuous chiming passages which complete the serene atmosphere.
The richly textured “Thinking of You”, is a slowburner that allows Jim to gently stroke and caress the strings of acoustic and electric guitars to create an evocatively mellow cascade of joyous emotions. The tender, heart swelling stand out number is the slowburner “Drownin’,” the solid hair-rising elongated chilling notes that emanate from Jims fret board are joined by a consoling yet spectral persistent piano.
On a more light-hearted note “Running Away,” is the age old story of too much drink and then crying into the glass; its glowing back porch swing acoustic guitar leads into a gently rolling goodtime mixture of rising horns and clean ivory tinkling.
More of this is found on “Tired and True,” a funky upbeat blues with solid Jazz inflected guitar, fa, fa ,fa, horns and an eager piano topped off with uplifting and breezy backing vocals. The album finishes with a footapping acoustic guitar and horn led swinging Rumba that segues into a series of blasting and searing ice cold solos which ends quite abruptly.