Ali Jackson, Amalgamations (Sunnyside)
In this appropriately titled collection, the irrepressible drummer and 13 colleagues from the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra and elsewhere combine in groups as small as two. Jackson’s precision and drive stimulate trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, pianist Eldar Djangirov and saxophonists JD Allen and Ted Nash, among others. Performances include the laconic “Done Tol’ You Fo’ Five Times” in which trombonist Vincent Gardner and electric pianist Jonathan Batiste supply Mumbles-ish vocalise. Marsalis blazes through the chords, but not the melody, of “Cherokee” accompanied by Jackson’s brushes and Carlos Henriquez’s acoustic bass. Nash shines in a refractive alto saxophone solo in Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge.” On tenor sax, Allen and Djangirov glide through Cole Porter’s “I Love You.” Throughout 11 pieces, Jackson is a dynamoreacting, interacting, inspiring all hands.