150

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.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall Live Reviews The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall
by John Eyles
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater Live Reviews Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Newport Jazz Festival 2017
by Timothy J. O'Keefe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read FORQ at The World Cafe Live Live Reviews FORQ at The World Cafe Live
by Mike Jacobs
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo" Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "The Wood Brothers at Higher Ground" Live Reviews The Wood Brothers at Higher Ground
by Doug Collette
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "The Stanley Clarke Band At Kuumbwa Jazz Center" Live Reviews The Stanley Clarke Band At Kuumbwa Jazz Center
by Walter Atkins
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Wadada Leo Smith At Firehouse 12" Live Reviews Wadada Leo Smith At Firehouse 12
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Newport Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Newport Jazz Festival 2017
by Timothy J. O'Keefe
Published: August 18, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.