Excellent Charles Tolliver Live
E. C. Brummer | Athens, GA USA | 07/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent album, but not to be confused with Tolliver's earlier studio album "Impact." This is on Enja and is a remastered version with two extra cuts from the original (which is apparently still available). Only the title cut is the same between the two albums. Still, it has excellent sound quality, and of course excellent performances by Tolliver. You won't be disappointed. The studio "Impact" disc is also excellent (maybe better), by the way, if you can find it. I picked it up in Japan."
Stuart Jefferson | San Diego,Ca | 12/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One disc 73 minutes approximately. Digitally remastered. The sound is very clean and has a warmth,which is sometimes lacking in live recordings and/or through the remastering process. This disc features Charles Tolliver -flugelhorn,Stanley Cowell-piano,Ron Mathewson-bass,and Alvin Queen-drums.
Anyone with more than a passing interest in jazz will know all the above players. All of them have played with both many known and unknown musicians/groups for many years. This particular recording is taken from a live concert in Germany,in 1972. Don't let the date fool you into thinking that this is "old"jazz-not worth hearing. This recording could sit alongside some of the more forward thinking releases on Blue Note Records,or any other labels you might happen to think of. Right now I have to say that I feel it's a shame that music of this caliber is only truly appreciated,by and large,in Europe. For this is some excellent post be-bop played at it's finest.
Both the bassist and drummer hold things together and give these tunes a real grounding,while at the same time they never lose that feeling of swing so important to this type of music. Tolliver's playing is always right on the mark. Never cluttering up his sound with to many notes,he leaves just enough space between the notes so that the music breathes and seems to come alive. Likewise Cowell-his playing,no matter if he's filling in spaces or is soloing,is always of the highest caliber.
After a short introduction of the players,the first track gets off to a rousing start and doesn't really let up. The same could be said for the second track. On the third track the entire group slows way down for some beautiful ensemble playing,which gives way to some fine solo work by Cowell and Tolliver. On this track,like others,Mathewson's bass playing is very sensitive and fits in the pocket very well indeed. The drummer knows when to hold back and just keep things moving along without calling attention to himself. The fourth track has some intense playing alongside some quieter passages. This track really feels like this group has been playing together(whether true or not) for a long while. The weaving of instruments,the ebb and flow of sound,all give this track a real identity. This edition of this album contains two previously unreleased tracks,for an extra twenty-five minutes of music. Track five starts out with a bit of a "soul-jazz" feel to it. It's different than the previous tracks,but gives a broader view of these fine musicians,and is still in the post be-bop mode. Tolliver is in fine form here,as is Cowell. Both play over and around each other,and is a nice change of pace. The last track starts out with all four players,and then gives way to Tolliver's horn. There is a drum solo shortly into this track,and not being a fan of such,I will let the individual listener make up his own mind. Queen is a fine drummer,but it's still a drum solo.
For continuity,it's obvious why the two bonus tracks were not originally released. The first four tracks are "of a piece" and the overall mood is changed somewhat by the inclusion of these two unreleased tracks. On this last track after approximately six minutes,the rest of the group comes in with some very fast intense playing. This track seems to fit in better with the originally released sides-after the drum solo. Queen's intense playing is all over this track,even when Tolliver is soloing. It feels like this might be the final track to be played(and recorded) on this set,because of it's intensity. Indeed,after the track ends the announcer comes on to let people know that the group will be back on the bandstand shortly. This recording is not widely known and that's a real crime. This should be in the library of anyone who enjoys straight ahead jazz."