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Take Five With Tom Tallitsch

AAJ Staff By

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Tom TallitschMeet Tom Tallitsch: Tom resides in the greater Philadelphia/Central New Jersey area. As a saxophonist he works as a leader and sideman in Philadelphia, New York, and the Northeast.

Tom's primary instrument is tenor saxophone. His doubles include soprano, alto, clarinet, flute, and piano. His critically acclaimed albums include Medicine Man (Origin, 2008), and Duality (Self Produced, 2005).

His third album will be released in mid-to-late 2009 on OA2 Records. Tom has his own jazz radio show which airs on Mercer County, NJ jazz radio station, WWFM 89.1 HD2. He owns a highly recommended music tutoring business near Princeton, NJ and is a popular jazz educator and clinician. He works as a piano tutor to adult students with autism, and has taught at Mercer County College, The Westminster Conservatory, The Philadelphia Clef Club, and was the founding director of the Central NJ Homeschool Bands.

Tom is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and has a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.


Saxophones, clarinet, flute, piano.

Teachers and/or influences? Ben Schachter, Rick Van Matre, Phil DeGreg, Mike Lee, Ernie Krivda.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was a freshman in high school. Music was all that I ever did and thought about.

Your sound and approach to music: My sound and approach on tenor is influenced by Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Joe Lovano, Seamus Blake, and others, through a lot of listening and transcribing.

Your teaching approach: With over 15 years of individual and classroom teaching experience, and as a graduate of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (CCM) in Jazz Studies, I offer an inspired approach to childhood-adult musical instruction.

My highly recommended music tutoring business is based in Mercer County New Jersey, and instructs motivated students in saxophone, clarinet, flute, piano, and Jazz Improvisation/Composition. I am an experienced high school and college clinician, and have been an artist faculty member at Mercer County College since 1999. I am also active in tutoring adult students with Autism through the adult program at the Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI).

In 2004 I organized the Central New Jersey Homeschool Bands, which provides home-schooled students the opportunity to rehearse and perform in an interactive musical environment.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: Ya have an hour or two?

Favorite venue:

Tritone (Philadelphia)

Chris' Jazz Café (Philadelphia)

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Oh man; it changes daily.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Benny Goodman, Live at Carnegie Hall (Columbia).

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? For selfish reasons I would say that the most important thing that I am contributing musically, is the music that I am bringing to people on recordings and at shows. However, the truth is that the most important thing that I do as a musician is to pass along my knowledge and experience to my students. Watching these young musicians grow is a greater gift than I ever could have imagined.

Did you know...

I am a huge sports fan!

Live near Philly and grew up in Cleveland.







Cinci Bearcats

CDs you are listening to now: Seamus Blake, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dave Holland, Sam Yahel, Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Chris Potter, and many others.

Desert Island picks:

McCoy Tyner, The Real McCoy (Blue Note);
John Coltrane, Crescent (Impulse!);

Miles Davis, Sorcerer (Columbia);

Radiohead, Kid A (EMI/Parlophone);

Frank Zappa, Apostrophe (Ryko/FZ).

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Gigs paying less, CDs selling less, less gigs.

Great new music being created.

Playing a lot.

Musicians want to play.

Jazz is alive and kicking.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Radio Shows and podcasts that promote classic and modern jazz artists, performances, and record companies. Interactive promotional websites such as AAJ, NPR, ejazznews, larry's improv page

Jazz musicians need to utilize the internet to reach broad audiences.

What is in the near future? I have a band called Big Monday (Victor Baker, John Stenger, Paul Gehman, Justin Leigh), that plays on the second Monday of every month at Tritone in Philadelphia (

We will be recording this year.

Also, I will be releasing my third album later this year with the same rhythm section.

By Day:

My music tutoring business.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: ummmm....?


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