With Love Blue Note/Mo­saic

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews -

In­hab­it­ing an area where hard bop and avant garde rub against each other, trum­peter, com­poser and ar­ranger Charles Tol­liver tends to be over­looked. De­spite his long ca­reer, this new big band album is only his first as a leader for Blue Note. Tol­liver’s typ­i­cally un­com­pro­mis­ing, bristling charts for a pow­er­ful ensem­ble, which in­cludes long­time col­leagues Stan­ley Cow­ell (pi­ano) and Ce­cil McBee (bass), are packed with con­tra­pun­tal in­ci­dent. ’Round Mid­night, for ex­am­ple, is squeezed through any num­ber of hoops. Be­hind the in-your-face en­sem­bles, there’s a con­trolled wild­ness and a no­table or­ches­tra­tor who com­bines the in­flu­ence, per­haps, of Ger­ald Wil­son with the raw pas­sion of Min­gus. Tol­liver’s dis­tinc­tive trum­pet is heard on all but one of his six orig­i­nals, while other soloists in­clude Cow­ell, McBee, pi­anist Robert Glasper and sax­o­phon­ists Craig Handy and Billy Harper.


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