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Cy Touf / Sandy Mosse: Tickle Toe

Nic Jones By

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These co-leaders had been stalwarts of the scene for decades by the time they cut these sides in Chicago in 1981. They worked that rich seam of post-bop music that conversely looked back to the music immediately prior to that significant shift. Here, they lay out their credentials in the company of a rhythm section that's right in the pocket and alert to every twist and turn the music takes.

In the early years of his career, tenor saxophonist Sandy Mosse recorded with Django Reinhardt and it's not difficult to see how he could have held his own in the company of that master. In common with the likes of Stan Getz and Al Cohn, he was a disciple of Lester Young, but as on "What's New?" he proves himself to be a singular exponent of the style. Like Cohn in his later years, his tone deviates from the model in terms of its relative coarseness while rhythmically he's his own man. Especially in the way he pushes at the beat without coming on like a musician who'll broach no contradiction.

Such is the empathetic nature of the rhythm section that any confrontation in those terms simply couldn't have happened anyway. The lengthy reading given to "Alone Together" unequivocally makes the point. Cy Touff's specialization on the bass trumpet lends the music a distinctive sonority—the nearest point of reference being the Getz quintet that had Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone sharing the front line with the leader. That said, Touff's work is shot through with a sly wit that's entirely his own, as if he's listening to and commenting upon the work of the rhythm section, rather than merely using it as a means for achieving commonplace aims.

Pianist John Campbell is right there at all times as an accompanist, while in solo his fat free lines always offer up cogent musical arguments, just as they do on the title track. Here, Kelly Sill and Jerry Coleman, on bass and drums respectively, cover the ground as if to the manner born. Both this performance and the overall program qualify for the epithet of 'stress-buster music' and in times as trying as these, it ought to be a part of any health program worthy of the title.


Track Listing: Tickle Toe; Centerpiece; The Man I Love; Allen

Personnel: Cy Touff: bass trumpet; Sandy Mosse: tenor sax; John Campbell: piano; Kelly Sill: bass; Jerry Coleman: drums.

Title: Tickle Toe | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Delmark Records

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