's move from Chicago to New York in 2002 was an important turning point in his career, his subsequent immersion in the New York Salsa dancing world has had an even greater impact on his music. Nolan learned to free his body and his mind to the effects of the rhythms as they washed over his very being, and he's allowed this same mindset to seep into his music.
Tell Me is all about the Latin groove lexicon, Nolan's musical influences, and the saxophonist's compositional and arranging skills, which seamlessly merge the two. Nolan is an authenticity man, unwilling to make himself a Latin pretender by simply putting a syncopated cymbal bell pattern behind a song, but he also believes in innovation and cross-pollination in terms of rhythm, harmony and form. He covers his Latin ABC's with Afro-Cuban grooves ("Beyond Arbitrary" and "Stolen Moments"), Baião ("No Secrets") and odd-metered bolero (""View From The Bridge") underpinnings, but he also allows the music to organically shift from Latin to swing ("Creepin'") or work a straight-eighth line ("Man In The Mirror").
The record opens with a number that's coated with an earthy and funky post-modern fusion patina ("Tell Me"), thanks in large part to Art Hirahara
' "Three Views Of A Secret" serves as grist for the mill on two Nolan numbers ("No Secrets" and "View From The Bridge"). Each of these pieces gives pause to admire Nolan's creativity in construction, but the pièce de résistance may be his take on Weather Report
's "A Remark You Made," reborn here as a sunny and rhythmically vibrant number full of energy and passion, where fun and genuine feeling reign supreme.
Nolan's tenor is full-bodied, but always even-keeled and devoid of any edge. While this can occasionally leave the ears wanting for a bit more abandon or ecstasy, Nolan still holds interest through his ideas and phrasing. Hirahara's willingness to mix sophisticated notions with throw-caution-to-the-wind ideas makes him a pianist to watch throughout the program, while drummer Brian Fishler