Tom Tallitsch shows exponential growth both as a performer and a composer and is certainly a name to remember!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Ride is the sophomore release from Tom Tallitsch on Posi-Tone Records. The stellar cover art is an excellent representation of a release that is evocative, energized and delightfully eclectic. This quintet is firing on all cylinders with all star drummer Rudy Royston keeping everyone on the rhythmic straight and narrow with pianist Art Hirahara and bassist Peter Brendler rounding out a formidable rhythm section that shift dynamics on the fly providing a solid base from which Tallitsch can work. Joining Tom is all star trombonist Michael Dease and the artful manipulation of swing has Ride carefully walking that fine line between the typical cerebral/visceral releases that dot the straight ahead landscape.
Covers…These can be the equivalent of tap dancing in a melodic minefield and taking on tunes from David Bowie and Led Zeppelin are certainly not done without some natural trepidation. Bowie’s “Life On Mars” is dialed down to an exquisite ballad while the reharm of the iconic Zeppelin standard “Ten Years Gone” puts a fresh coat of paint on an album rock classic long assumed hiding out in the rock and roll witness program by many. From the opening swing of “Ride” to the slightly odd metered gem ” Rubbernecker” the tone is open, warm and above all relaxed. While Ride is a release with subtle nuances hidden within a lyrical sense of purpose and a textured rhythmic sense of drive. There is not an ounce of pretentious pyrotechnics to be found and perhaps it is this inner confidence that translates a relaxed virtually live feeling to this recording. Michael Dease provides the counterpoint that makes tunes like “Knuckle Dragger” and “Turtle” somewhat reminiscent of Wayne Shorter’s early Blue Note work yet Tom Tallitsch is doing a riff on no one but himself.
I once made the statement that Posi-Tone may carry the best stable of saxophonists working the straight ahead side of the street and Tom Tallitsch more than proves this point.