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Tom Tallitsch: All Together Now

Dan Bilawsky By

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All Together Now—the sixth overall effort from tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch, and his third for the Posi-tone imprint—is a well-balanced musical affair built around a surefooted and wholly capable sextet.

Tallitsch works with a rhythm section and two other horns here, creating smart and uncluttered settings that showcase the musicians without boxing them in. He works various stylistic angles into his compositions, touching on myriad moods in the process. There's a driving tune that vacillates between swing and Latin feels ("Passages"), an up-tempo burner ("Border Crossing"), a soulful twist on a Frank Zappa number ("Uncle Remus"), a truncated take on a classic from The Band ("The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"), and a loping swing jaunt ("Greasy Over Easy").

In each of the aforementioned instances, and elsewhere on the album, Tallitsch manages to include some simple yet effective arranger's touches—harmonized horns here, background riffs there, shifting textures, and more—while stilling retaining the vibe of a solos-for-everyone session. And with the string of solos on the album opener, he makes it clear that there will be room to blow on this one. Each and every piece gives pause to admire different soloists and/or musical relationships. One number might bring to light the differences and similarities between Tallitsch's tenor approach and Mike DiRubbo's alto work ("Slippery Rock"), another may see pianist/organist Brian Charette ripping through the music while tossing out a choice quote ("Border Crossing"), and a third may find bassist Peter Brendler and Charette working in a reflective space ("Arches"). And that's just a brief sampling of what happens in each of those pieces. The bigger picture in each number is about the balance between personalized expression and group dynamics, as All Together Now speaks to Tallitsch's talents as player and writer, the individual viewpoints of his band mates, and the collective spirit that comes through in these performances.

Track Listing: Passages; The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down; Slippery Rock; Big Sky; Border Crossing; Curmudgeon; Uncle Remus; Medicine Man; Greasy Over Easy; Dunes; Arches.

Personnel: Tom Tallitsch: tenor saxophone; Michael Dease: trombone; Peter Brendler: bass; Mike DiRubbo: alto saxophone; Brian Charette: piano; Mark Ferber: drums.

Title: All Together Now | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

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