|All Artists: Charles Tolliver|
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Black Lion/Da Music/Ka
Release Date: 9/1/1993
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
BRIGHT & BRILLIANT - VERY HARD TO FIND
Steve Wyzard | Lomita, CA | 06/18/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For your consideration, we present yet another entry in the "Should-Be-Much-Better-Known-Than-They-Are" category of jazz trumpeters. Charles Tolliver, who has played with everybody from Jackie McLean to McCoy Tyner, from Max Roach to Louis Hayes, usually performs in much larger ensembles which have helped to ensure his relative anonymity. In late 1969 he recorded The Ringer for Black Lion Records (it's been reissued a number of times on different labels with different cover art) with his group Music, Inc: Stanley Cowell on piano, Steve Novosel on bass, and Jimmy Hopps on drums. This album is a stand-out performance of its time: one listen will demonstrate why it demands a much-more accessible reissue on CD.
"Plight" opens the proceedings with a bang: Tolliver's bubbly, brassy tone on his long solo absolutely leaps out from the speakers, so monitor your volume control carefully. He eschews the flugelhorn entirely on this album, and makes no bones about dominating the self-composed material. Only Stanley Cowell from the rest of the group receives any substantial soloing time, but he is unfortunately buried in the right-channel of this recording (typical late-60s, early-70s engineering). The epic "On the Nile" starts slowly before Jimmy Hopps' busy percussion ignites the musical engines. This track must be in the running for Tolliver's greatest moment in a recording studio: big, spacious slabs of lyrical trumpeting, one blistering, stuttering solo after another. Too hot to handle! The upbeat brilliance of the title track ends suddenly before the album's first drastic change of pace. "Mother Wit" begins as a moving adagio, giving Tolliver a chance to play lugubriously. Steve Novosel's bassline (buried in the left-channel) pushes the group forward to a swinging cresendo before the original tempo is once again resumed. The light-hearted closer, "Spur" gives everyone a chance to strut their stuff, with Tolliver joining in last of all.
One can only hope this review will in some small way help to rescue another great jazz album from the dust of oblivion. If you can find The Ringer in any format: DO NOT HESITATE to snap it up immediately. One final mystery: the name-dropping liner notes (credit: Valerie Wilmer) state that this album was Tolliver's first under his own name. I've heard of (but never seen) another from one year earlier (1968) called Paper Man that supposedly features Gary Bartz on sax. Any confirmation would no doubt be appreciated by anybody looking for further information."