Under trumpet virtuoso Charles Tolliver's direction, the Music Inc. quartet would go on to record several challenging live albums from locales as varied as the famed club Slugs and Yubinchokin Hall in Tokyofor his and pianist Stanley Cowell's fledgling Strata East label during the '70s, later collected in a Mosaic Select box devoted to the group. This late 1970 studio session was the group and label's debut and features 13 additional winds and horns including Virgil Jones, Danny Moore, Jimmy Heath, Clifford Jordan and Curtis Fuller, the driving modality of the six selections complemented by beautiful arrangements. The disc pits winds and brass against the quartet and the dialogue is a continual pleasure. While Tolliver, Cowell, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Jimmy Hopps are the primary focus, as on the rollicking "Ruthie's Heart," the additional players provide fine accents; there is no question, however, that Tolliver drives the tune along as it races into a solo drenched with liquid fire. On the opposite end of the arrangement spectrum is "Brilliant Circles"; eased in by some bass glissandos from McBee, the tune becomes a study in lush counterpoint, the winds balancing Tolliver's soaring lines in a complex web of small morphing motifs. Dick Griffin's trombone and Howard Johnson's deep baritone saxophone enhance the colors of this multi-hued score. The disc veers comfortably between the soulful and the cerebral, occasional slides, whoops and shouts obviously indebted to New Thing innovations. It is great to have this disc finally available and it makes for a fine supplement to the Mosaic set, especially since two of the quartet tunes in that box"Ruthie's Heart" and "On the Nile"make earlier appearances here. This is a fine group engaged in the passionate and thoughtful music of a still underrated musician and composer in Charles Tolliver.
Track Listing: Ruthie's Heart; Brilliant Circles; Abscretions; Household of Saud; On The Nile; Departure
Personnel: Charles Tolliver: trumpet; Cecil McBee: bass; Jimmy Hopps: drums; Stanley Cowell; Jimmy Heath, Clifford Jordan, Bobby Brown, Wilbur Brown: reeds; Richard Williams, Virgil Jones, Larry Greenwich, Danny Moore: trumpets; Garnett Brown, Curtis Fuller, John Gordon, Dick Griffin: trombones; Howard Johnson: tuba, baritone sax.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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