Jazz Con Class Radio

Featuring Charles Tolliver’s “The Ringer”


Most people have not really heard of Charles Tolliver and his trumpet. It’s not really easy to find his work because he was part of well known band leaders like Jackie McLean, Booker Ervin, Horace Silver and many more. His trumpet playing was and still is very smooth and very pleasant to hear. You will understand more when you listen to the album featured here on Jazz Con Class,  named “The Ringer.” I will place it on the rotation and then move it into the Avant-Garde playlist. here’s more on the album:

This is the Charles Tolliver record to get, although it may be hard to find. The masterful trumpeter, in a quartet with pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Steve Novosel, and drummer Jimmy Hopps, plays five of his strongest compositions. Highlights include the powerful “On the Nile,” “The Ringer,” and “Spur,” but each of the numbers has its memorable moments. Tolliver is heard at the peak….Read More

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More about Charles Tolliver:

On his Blue Note Records debut, With Love, Charles Tolliver presents his extraordinary big band charts and sui generis trumpet playing for the first time on a major U.S. label.

For the occasion, Tolliver recruited a pan-generational lineup of home-run hitter soloists including pianists Stanley Cowell and Robert Glasper, saxophonists Billy Harper, Craig Handy, and Howard Johnson, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, and a cohort of A-list section men, Cecil McBee and Victor Lewis, all of whom draw on all their resources to articulate Tolliver’s vision with a bravura performance.

After hearing a reunion of the Tolliver-Cowell quartet in 2002, the trumpeter David Weiss decided to approach Tolliver about resurrecting his acclaimed big band. A fan of Tolliver’s ’70s big band records Music, Inc. And Big Band and Impact, both on Strata-East (an independent label founded by Tolliver and Cowell in 1970), Weiss provided the spark that brought the band back to life.

“I told David the charts were collecting dust,” Tolliver recalled. “David said that perhaps he could interest some of the venues in New York. After several months, the Jazz Standard agreed to have me for a couple of nights, and it was successful”.

Reviewing that September 2003 engagement, Gary Giddins wrote: “[Tolliver’s] trumpet retains much of its vigorous tone, diligent logic, and controlled fury. But his most powerful achievement is as a composer-conductor. At Jazz Standard, his dramatic semaphore directed intricate section work in long numbers with balanced pace, color tones, and excitement”. This band deserves a permanent home”.

“Charles is the culmination of his period,” Weiss says. “He encompassed everything that happened in the ’60s and early ’70s, all the innovation and intensity, the highest level of harmony and rhythm and technique, and pumped it up even more”.

Self-taught as an instrumentalist, composer and

arranger, Tolliver seems constitutionally averse to doing things the easy way. “I like to rumble,” he told DownBeat. “I take the most difficult routes for improvisation. It’s easy to play a number of choruses effortlessly and never make a mistake, never break down. That’s no fun. You need to get in hot water by trying something out right from the jump, get yourself out of that, and move on to the next chorus”.

The 64-year-old trumpeter-composer was no stranger to Blue Note Records. Alto saxophonist Jackie McLean launched Tolliver’s career in 1964 by hiring him as a sideman on his Blue Note album It’s Time, used him on the subsequent albums Action and Jacknife, and made his composition “Right Now” the title track of a 1965 quartet date. As the ’60s progressed Tolliver also appeared with Blue Note heavyweights Horace Silver (Serenade to A Soul Sister) and Andrew Hill (One For One, Dance With Death), as well as sessions for other labels with Max Roach, Booker Ervin, Gerald Wilson, and Gary Bartz. In 1969 he formed the innovative quartet Music Inc., which he documented on four albums for Strata-East……Learn More

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