Julius Tolentino Quartet at Cecil's Jazz Club

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Julius Tolentino Quartet
Cecil's Jazz Club
West Orange, NJ
June 22, 2007

A number of teenagers formed a semicircle around the bandstand during alto saxophonist Julius Tolentino's opening set at Cecil's Jazz Club, one anxiously fingering his horn in anticipation of sitting in. Only a decade or so older than the youngsters who hung on his every note, Tolentino is an accomplished soloist whose stylistic inclinations are converging in fascinating ways. The Jackie McLean influence that was the most prominent part of his style a couple of years ago has receded. In its place Tolentino is rapidly finding an identity as a fluid, athletic, bop-oriented player who also evokes Johnny Hodges's silky cries and John Coltrane's sheets of sound.

Throughout a medium-to-up-tempo rendition of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile, Tolentino enjoyed the steady, workman-like pulse established by bassist Mike Karn and drummer Pete Zimmer. Taking chorus after chorus, there was a slight keening edge to his sound as he maneuvered from the horn's lower range to higher regions. He eased into a bossa nova treatment of Jobim's "Triste, and struck a balance between lyrical melodies and more complicated passages. Tolentino literally made the house go silent during Duke Ellington's vehicle for Hodges, "Jeep's Blues. Creating precise blues building blocks out of intimate whispers, bent notes, and familiar passages, he waxed soft and sexy then loud and proud.

A recent transplant from the West Coast, the twenty-three year-old Gerald Clayton was a stellar accompanist and soloist. While Zimmer's eloquent ride cymbal powered Dizzy Gillespie's up-tempo "Bebop, the pianist displayed poise and a sense of structure. Lines were broken off before they became too convoluted, a repeated phrase kept things grounded, and McCoy Tyner-like harmonies were skillfully stirred into the mix. On the standard "You've Changed he favored short statements that fit into a larger scheme. Starting out with Tolentino's last few notes, throughout Jule Styne's "Make Someone Happy Clayton played simple and recognizable patterns before moving on to more complex matters. He swung hard yet never strained for effect.


More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Electric Hot Tuna at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center" Live Reviews Electric Hot Tuna at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center
by Doug Collette
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Davy Knowles at Higher Ground" Live Reviews Davy Knowles at Higher Ground
by Doug Collette
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Ecuador Jazz 2016" Live Reviews Ecuador Jazz 2016
by Mark Holston
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "Howard Riley and Keith Tippett at Pizza Express" Live Reviews Howard Riley and Keith Tippett at Pizza Express
by Duncan Heining
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens" Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!