Lina Allemano is a Canadian trumpeter who splits her time between Toronto and Berlin. She specializes in extended techniques on her instrument and always juggling with few projects and collaborates with innovative musicians like Kris Davis, Anna Webber and Alexander Hawkins. Her two new albums, released on her own Lumo Records label, highlight her rich and versatile sonic vision.
The Lina Allemano Four has been together since 2005 and features alto sax player Brodie West, double bass player Andrew Downing and drummer Nick Fraser. «Vegetables» is the sixth album of this quartet and was recorded live, «off the floor», at Union Sound Company in Toronto in January 2020. Allemano wrote the six pieces, all rely on quirky, distinctive structures that favor sudden twists and detours, and never surrender to conventional forms or familiar rhythmic patterns. The opening piece «Onion» references briefly Dizzy Gillespie’s iconic «Salt Peanuts», but like all Allemano’ss pieces on «Vegetables» it is open to collective, conversational improvisation that blurs the line between composition and improvisation. This quartet enjoys a profound affinity and uncanny intimacy that produces an organic interplay. It delivers Allemano’s pieces with elegance and slow-cooking energy. Just listen to the lyrical, meditative «Champignons», or to the manner in which Allemano transforms her extended techniques into an engaging yet subversive interplay on «Oh Avocado».
BLOOP is Allemano’s duo with electronics player Mike Smith. Allemono is improvising on the acoustic trumpet with few self-made mutes, and some percussion devices on one hand, while Smith processes her sonic output in real-time and adds his own feedback loops and effects that feed back Allemano’s responses. Bloop began to develop their work in 2017 and recorded their debut album «Proof» at All-Set Coin Recording in Toronto in July 2020, completely live in real-time with no overdubs or editing.
Allemano leads this duo and her free-improvising playing flows with provocative melodic ideas. Her trumpet playing is already manipulated by her extended breathing techniques, the self-made mutes and her whistling, and often sound as if she is employing effects pedals. Smith’s subtle live-processing attaches a trail of intriguing and haunting overtones to Allemano’s improvisation that extends and expands the sonic dimension of each piece. Sometimes Smith’s refined layers of otherworldly sounds gravitate into quiet storms and at other times multiply this kind of spontaneous interaction into a larger brass-based outfit. Often, the line between the acoustic and the electronic worlds is completely blurred and you may feel that you were trapped inside an imaginative, dreamlike labyrinth of mirrors. But Allemano and Smith not only experiment with arresting and weird sounds. The poetic ballads «Oracle of Chanterelle» and «Cremini Oracle» demonstrate their gift for introspective lyricism.
Lina Allemano (tp, mutes, perc, whistling), Brodie West (as), Andrew Downing (b), Nick Fraser (dr), Mike Smith (live-proc, eff)