4 STARS ****
Tribute albums can be tricky. The key is to give greater priority to spirit than to style. Of course, the Allman Brothers created a unique style before guitarist Duane Allman’s death just weeks before his 25th birthday. To deny that, or to step so far away from it that the tribute being paid loses clarity, would be as mistaken as mere mimicry would be.
On Trouble No More, Tiziano Tononi accepts this challenge and delivers the goods. His arrangement of “Whippin’ Post” acknowledges the original version, from the surging 6/8 to the humongous climax on the chorus and the 11/8 hook. It also charts a new path through the tune. The most obvious change here, and on most of the rest of the album, is to substitute Carmelo Massimo Torre’s airy accordion for Gregg Allman’s meaty B-3 as the dominant textural element. This gives Tononi a little more space in the mix to conjure the freedom and energy that it took two drummers to generate with the Allmans. The big distraction here is the horn players’ tendency to play as fast as possible rather than invent with more restraint on their solos. But that’s not enough to detract from the success Tononi achieves with Trouble No More. He pays his respects with love and originality, which is what sincere tributes are all about.
4 STARS ****