The Lolly Allen Quintet

By Natalie Wilson

In an age in which some consider the music of today’s youth to be at an all-time low, what a delight to see and hear three fabulous musicians, all of whom appear to be in their mid-twenties playing the best JAZZ around. That’s what went down at SOhO on November 8. If you missed it, you missed a great afternoon of exciting music! Vibraphonist Lolly Allen put a stupendous quintet together with award winning saxophonist, Danny Janklow; a recent music performance graduate from Cal State Northridge, Theresa Sanchez, on bass; and veteran musicians, drummer, Paul Kreibich, and Tom Owens on piano.

Right from the first notes of the beginning number, Horace Silver’s The Hippest Cat in Hollywood, I knew we were in for some great jazz. Written for the late legendary jazz disc jockey, Chuck Niles, Lolly and the gang showed they had the right chops to pull off that catchy, Latin tune. The quintet seemed to be at their best with a couple of other hot Latin numbers, Azul Serape, and Mambo Inn, which was made famous by another great vibraphonist, Cal Tjader. These up-beat tunes also allowed drummer, Kreibich, to stretch out with several exciting solos; something we don’t always get to hear when he’s appeared with other groups. Pianist, Tom Owens, not only showed what an excellent player he is, but also arranged several of the charts, including Jobim’s, O Grande Amore.

Each member of the band had ample time to solo on most tunes and that made for some break-neck solos on Dizzy Gillespie’s Be Bop, as well as some beautiful and thoughtful sounds on some beautiful ballads, such as Estaté and Johnny Mandel’s Emily. Lolly, a superb vibes player, also showed us that she can sing with her spirited versions of I Love Being Here with You and Frim Fram Sauce.

Personally, I could have listened to this exciting group all day. The choice of tunes was tasteful and the execution flawless. Let’s hope they come back to us soon, or at least before three of them turn 30!

Photos by Mark McDonald