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Charles Tolliver: With Love (2007)

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Charles Tolliver: With Love How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Featuring the soulful trumpet soloing of Charles Tolliver and fiery band arrangements that he's created through a lifetime of paying dues, both in New York and Los Angeles, With Love drives with a powerful spirit and deep feeling.

Tolliver's writing shows an influence from Gerald Wilson, with whom he worked in the late 1960s. His trumpet soloing comes from the straight-ahead forces pioneered by Dizzy Gillespie and expands intuitively through personal experience.

Tolliver, who's 64, fronts his resurrected big band with a unique trumpet voice and highly charged energy. Like Gillespie, he encourages the band through example. You can quickly imagine the sweat pouring off his face and muscles throughout his body tightening as he reaches out with a thrilling personal message. Tolliver sacrifices technique for spirit. He's convincing with his deeply felt lyricism and waterfall cascades of legato 16th notes. Up and down, around and through, the trumpeter sings out instrumentally from the bottom of his heart.

The band follows his lead with fiery counterpoint and inspired soloing from individual members. Both pianists contribute incredible thrills, while others pour out streams that echo the bandleader's enthusiasm. "Mournin' Variations stands out as the album's high point, issuing a powerful statement that is couched between gentler opening and closing statements that feature Howard Johnson and Craig Handy. Johnson returns with a frenzied baritone saxophone romp on "Right Now, reminding us that big band jazz continues to bring out the best from all parties concerned when it features creative voices.

Track Listing: Rejoicin; With Love; Round Midnight; Mournin Variations; Right Now; Suspicion; Hit the Spot.

Personnel: Charles Tolliver: trumpet, leader; David Guy, Chris Albert, Keyon Harrold, David Weiss, James Zollar: trumpet; Joe Fiedler, Clark Gayton, Stafford Hunter, Jason Jackson: trombone; Aaron Johnson: bass trombone, tuba; Todd Bashore: alto saxophone, clarinet; Jimmy Cozier: alto saxophone; Craig Handy: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute; Billy Harper: tenor saxophone; Bill Saxton: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Howard Johnson: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Stanley Cowell, Robert Glasper: piano; Cecil McBee: double bass; Victor Lewis: drums; Ched Tolliver: guitar.

Record Label: Blue Note Records

Style: Big Band


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