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With Love

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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With Love by Charles Tolliver Big Band

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Trumpeter/composer/bandleader Charles Tolliver co-founded the Strata-East label with pianist Stanley Cowell, in 1971, but it's been a long time since we heard his underappreciated genius. This CD falls into the "where have you been?" category. It features a big band that includes Cowell, pianist Robert Glasper, saxophonist Billy Harper, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Victor Lewis. Save for a Gil Fuller-like rendition of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," the remaining six tracks are penned by the leader. Picking up from his big band charts from the 70s, this ensemble, driven by Tolliver's bravura Hub-toned trumpet lines, swings and sings with a propulsive, pan-generational sound. "Rejoicin'" is a spirited waltz, contrasted by the evocatively voiced, Trane-style "Mournin' Variations" and the Latin-tinged bopper "Suspicion," with Tolliver's son Ched on guitar. Tolliver may have been out of sight, but he certainly wasn't out of swing. --Eugene Holley, Jr.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 30, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: BLUE NOTE
  • Run Time: 59 minutes
  • ASIN: B000LC5BJ2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,924 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Trumpeter Charles Tolliver is one of many great jazz players who is known to enthusiasts but for whatever reason has not garnered the wider acclaim of which he is worthy. Last year saw the tide begin to turn. Mosaic released a 3-CD Select set of his `70's work and his role on pianist Andrew Hill's celebrated return to recording for Blue Note generated renewed interest in this underappreciated veteran.

"With Love" features the trumpeter at the helm of a multi-generational big band and is his debut as a leader for Blue Note. Interestingly the disc also brings him back to the label where he made his recording debut as a sideman in 1964 on alto-saxophonist Jackie McLean's acclaimed album "It's Time."

Comprised of six original compositions as well as a sassy reading of Monk's "'Round Midnight," Tolliver's charts spotlight a meticulous attention to nuance and detail. Taking great care to accentuate the strengths of both the ensemble and the soloists, he effectively retains an inherent looseness which bolsters the group's ability to sound fresh and inspired as they navigate intricate lines and swing like mad.

Tolliver's 60's affiliation with McLean yielded four Blue Note LPs. "Right Now" was the title track to one of those albums. Recast with an extended intro, the ensemble punctuates the backdrop as the trumpeter fires off one of his many inspired solos.

Also revisited is a pair of tunes from the `70s- "Suspicion" and "Mournin' Variations." The former was written for a pianoless quartet. Here its pulsing theme gives way to Tolliver blowing over just the drums before the band joins back in and the heat once again builds.
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Format: Audio CD
Trumpeter, composer and arranger Charles Tolliver is one of the unsung heroes of modern jazz. Tolliver made his debut with Jackie McLean in the mid 1960's and ever since, he has investigated the intersection of composition and improvisation as a leader, sideman and educator. Tolliver's profile has been on the rise lately with his excellent sideman appearance on Andrew Hill's Time Lines LP and a short residency for his big band in New York. So, he really makes an appropriate choice for the first collaboration between the Blue Note and Mosaic labels in newly recorded music (they have collaborated for years on re-issues.) There are some wonderful musicians making up the band: saxophonists Billy Harper and Craig Handy, pianist Robert Glasper and drummer Victor Lewis among many others. The music is extraordinarily exciting, beginning with the blasting original chart "Rejoicin" which features an excellent solo from the leader and very good ensemble playing. The title song, "With Love" builds slowly to an explosive conclusion with the entire group whipped into a ferocious swing. Next up is a very interesting re-arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" with Tolliver leading the way with some excellent trumpet soloing. The great tenor saxophonist Billy Harper gets an excellent solo spot on "Mournin' Variations" which Tolliver originally wrote for a Max Roach project. The music starts off in a meditative fashion before evolving into a Mingus-like holy rolling swing. The recording is rounded out with performances of the originals "Suspicion" and "Hit the Spot." The first has a bit of a different feel thanks to Tolliver's son Ched, who contributes some fine electric guitar, and the final tune is a blow out for the whole band that is nearly head spinning in its power.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
This cd is awesome outstanding all the arrangements awesome this cd Igive it 9 stars if I could its that awesome & so are his cds #1The Ringer & his Impact & his Grand Max as well. I get all of theses cds today right away.Id give all cds mentioned 9 stars if I could.
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Format: Audio CD
The disk begins with a big, brassy peal of trumpets offset by blaring, diving trombone counterpoint and filigreed saxophone riffs. But right away, it hits you that the big noise isn't joyous, that it carries the same, flat, one-dimensional hint of minor keys familiar from the less-than-fun world of heavy metal (where you need to be exceedingly intense and serious). The band itself is an impeccable machine, sleek and powerful as it runs through its paces: loud, soft, fast, slow, smooth, rough. Yet the arrangements seem overly bombastic and lacking variety after a while as Mr. Tolliver (trumpet soloist and primary writer/arranger as well as leader) never seriously changes pace with a different harmonic approach or steps away from his use of the three wind sections in blocks (trumpets, trombones, woodwinds), rather than mixing the voices for some different sounds. The band roars impressively, but never really swings, which is quite odd since the rhythm trio is plenty strong in spots. Mr. Tolliver is an odd soloist, using a blaring, smeared sound on the trumpet as he never quite seems to find a way to string together coherent phrases that are more than a few moments long. At times, he seems lost in his own arrangements, aimlessly tossing out comments as the band punches accents (and boy, can this band punch!) rather than assembling an interesting phrase that meshes. The other soloists are stronger, thankfully, and the overall sound is hard to resist, although a bit sterile like a good college ensemble rather than the more confident, loose sound of seasoned pros.
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