Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom: Glitter Wolf
That each of the six core musicians on Glitter Wolf is a virtuoso is a given. Bandleader and drummer Allison Miller, besides leading this band— which is celebrating their 10th anniversary—has worked with numerous other artists, from Brandi Carlile to Ani DiFranco. Pianist Myra Melford, violinist Jenny Scheinman, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, clarinetist Ben Goldberg and bassist Todd Sickafoose consistently receive rave reviews for their own work in the jazz field. But something else kicks in when Boom Tic Boom shares a room, and Glitter Wolf is the most impressive manifestation of that grouping to date. Like the great progressive/fusion bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Boom Tic Boom is all about pushing edges. With two exceptions, most of the 10 tracks here break the five-minute mark, giving Miller (who also contributes vibraphone and celeste) and her chosen bandmates ample opportunities to examine and explore. “Malaga” is a feast of sounds, made possible by the unusual combination of instruments assembled here and taken to surprising rhythmic and melodic places. “White Wolf” hurries along at a frenetic pace, with Goldberg and Scheinman floating melodies you want to grab and hold onto atop the propulsive base laid down by Miller, Sickafoose and Melford. The pianist and drummer lock into a tricky groove on “Glitter Wolf”—is it a coincidence that the album’s producer is Julie Wolf?— and the entire ensemble (which is aided at various times by three additional percussionists) sails along contentedly on “Zev—The Phoenix,” one of several tracks that values the cohesiveness of the group at least as much as it does the members’ individual mastery.