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Midwest Record reviews “Heads or Tales”…

TOM TALLITSCH/Heads or Tales: Not only a jazzbo but a bleeding heart liberal as well since he uses music to cut through autism at his various school and clinic work. He’s also one killer, mainstream sax man as well. Here we find Posi-Tone working on developing their house sound as label mate Jared Gold is heating up the B3 chair doing his part to keep this quartet working in overdrive. Tasty stuff throughout that is going to push Tallitsch into that spot where he has to decide between teaching and touring. Hot stuff that’s going to find him less and less of a well kept secret every day. Check it out.


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North Country Public Radio interview with Tom Tallitsch…

Tenor Saxophonist Tom Tallitsch’s new CD, Heads Or Tales, blends classic sounds with contemporary compositions

Tom Tallitsch

Tom Tallitsch

(05/05/12) Tom Tallitsch has just released a new CD for Posi-Tone Records, and has tapped three great players to interpret his modern compositions with an old school sound. He talked about it with Joel Hurd on The Bridge.
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Karl Stark reviews Tom Tallitsch “Heads or Tales”…

Organ jazz, which has deep roots in Philly, often veers close to R&B or hard bop. Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch, a Cleveland native who has taught at the Philadelphia Clef Club, takes organ jazz in a cool modernist direction, making this quartet session smart and dark. Tallitsch, a jazz radio host on Mercer County Community College’s WWFM HD2, also runs a music-tutoring business in Princeton. Intimations of organ jazz’s soul roots emerge on “Tenderfoot,” but that becomes context for deeper explorations, fueled by drummer Mark Ferber. The set of originals often crackles with unexpected combustion. Organist Jared Gold creates some edgy effects on “Double Shot,” while guitarist Dave Allen plumbs a more cosmic mode on the smoky ballad “Perry’s Place.” Tallitsch & Co. sometimes play with sounds. The organ effects on “Dunes” feel like the Shore.


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Tim Niland writes up Tom Tallitsch “Heads or Tales”…

Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch looks to demonstrate his talent as player and a composer on his debut for Posi-Tone Records. He is accompanied by Dave Allen on guitar, Jared Gold on organ and Mark Ferber on drums. The album is made up of original compositions and one interesting cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” which is taken as a stately ballad with melodic saxophone leading the way. Among the original compositions, the opener “Coming Around” has a swinging medium tempo feeling with Tallitsch’s saxophone sailing over organ bursts and a fluid guitar solo. Switching to a faster pace, “Double Shot” features light textured saxophone improvising over the music before the organ, bass and drums unit gets their turn setting the leader up for a ripe concluding solo. Drums open “Flat Stanley” setting the stage for Gold’s organ to fill in with a quasi funky feeling. Tallitsch’s saxophone does a little strutting, keeping with the loose feeling of the song. “Travel Companion” reverts to a medium tempo with the full band improvising on the melody. Gold makes long tones on the organ before building to a flashy solo and Allen makes his mark here as well probing and embellishing on his solo. This was a solid album, definitely worth looking into if you are a fan of modern mainstream jazz. The music is straight ahead and focused on melodic improvisations and remains quite accessible.

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Bruce Lindsay reviews Tom Tallitsch “Heads or Tales”…

Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch makes his Posi-Tone debut with Heads Or Tales, a welcome addition to that label’s impressively strong roster of straight-ahead and swinging musicians. Tallitsch has a warm tone, a lyrical and flowing style and an ability to craft solos that add to the narrative of his compositions: qualities that make the tunes—all but one his own compositions—immediately accessible, yet capable of rewarding repeated listening with fresh revelations.

While Heads And Tales is his label debut, it’s actually the Cleveland-born, New York-based saxophonist’s fourth album since the self-produced Duality (2005). It’s the sound of an experienced and confident player; his tenor saxophone sound is stamped across the album, either crafting melodies or delivering finely-judged solos, but he never attempts to overwhelm his band mates, never outstays his welcome and never stretches a tune too far. There are plenty of other players who could learn from Tallitsch’s economy of composition and interpretation.

Guitarist Dave Allen is a strongly melodic player and an emphatic second lead voice. His single-note playing flows beautifully, giving his solos a fluidity and grace that matches Tallitsch’s own. “Double Shot” and “Flat Stanley” find Allen and Tallitsch trading fast-paced lines, while slower tunes, like the cool swinger “Travel Companion” and balladic “Perry’s Place,” give them space to share more reflective phrases underpinned by Jared Gold’s Hammond organ.

Gold can almost be described as Posi-Tone’s house organist, with numerous appearances on the label as leader or sideman. He is a consistently fine player, with a great sense of dynamics and a swinging, rhythmical, style. He forms an excellent partnership with drummer Mark Ferber, sharing a tough, driving, approach to the music that helps to build its power and excitement. Gold also contributes an imaginative array of tones, and some telling individual contributions such as his intense, tight solo on “Tenderfoot.”

Tallitsch closes with an unusual choice of cover tunes, Neil Young’s classic, “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.” Tallitsch plays it straight—his version just 20 seconds longer than Young’s original on After The Goldrush (Reprise, 1970)—but ensures that his saxophone sound retains the mood of Young’s lyric. It’s just one facet of Tallitsch’s abilities, as Heads Or Tales makes abundantly and enjoyably clear.

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JazzWrap writes up Tom Tallitsch “Heads or Tales”…

You know those albums that you fall in love with immediately after about two songs in–well this one of those albums. Tom Tallitsch delivers a killer does on hard bop that is fueled by both some heavy chops as well as crisp songwriting. His fourth album (first for Posi-Tone), Heads Or Tales is simply an awesome display of muscle and dynamics.
Like a late night jam session, Heads Or Tales kicks off in fine form with “Coming Around,” a real barn-burner. Tallitsch rips through a number of chords and his newly assembled quartet adds fuel to the fire with Allen and Gold sparking hot exchanges that match the saxophonist’s muscle.

The luscious ballad, “Perry’s Place,” is absorbing. Tallitsch gives a deep soulful performance that instantly grabs you. Gold’s organ stays close with a rhythm providing strong effect. Feber’s drums are tempered here but still add soft touches just under the melody.

“Travel Companion” is a well paced midtempo piece in which Tallitsch allows Gold and Allen to show-off some solid individuality. Tallitsch comes back in to bring the band home with some warm tones as closing notes.

“Dunes” moves along swiftly and sweetly. Ferber conjures up some nice patterns that rise and fall alongside Tallitsch rhythms. Allen lays down some chords that felt almost early George Benson-esque. For some reason I kept gravitating back to this track. There’s something quietly entrancing and beautiful about the harmonies that you might find as well.

Closing out on Neil Young’s “Don’t Let Bring You Down” is pretty brave. And you almost don’t recognize it until you get to the chorus. This introspective ballad gets a heavy treatment that ends up being more surprising than you would originally imagine. It’s treated with care but still creating its own identity.
Heads Or Tales is more than just another solid session for Tom Tallitsch. It’s a document that really should awaken the eyes and ears of many would need to know his name and his skill as a composer and musician.
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Lucid Culture reviews Tom Tallitsch “Heads or Tales”…

Vivid, Catchy, Intense Compositions from Tom Tallitsch

Saxophonist Tom Tallitsch has a strong, diverse and thoroughly enjoyable album, Heads or Tales, out recently with Jared Gold on organ,Dave Allen on guitar and the semi-ubiquitous Mark Ferber on drums. Tallitsch plays with a slightly smoky tone and a light touch, heavy on the nuance which makes him sneaky fast – when he has to drive home a particular phrase, it doesn’t take a lot of effort. The result is impeccable taste: the melodies get plenty of time to breathe here. There are no stampedes to the finish line, but there’s a terrific amount of sympatico playing and strong compositions. Don’t file this one away in the postbop ghetto.

Maybe this is par for course from a guy who can be very allusive, but the album starts off on a bit of a wishy-washy if well-played note with the rhythmically tricky Coming Around, a sort of warmup with lots of steady minor blues scales from Tallitsch and Allen. Then they give you the gem, Tenderfoot, which sounds like a Marc Ribot noir classic, but done as straight-up jazz rather than dramatic, cinematic main title theme. Beginning as a staggered bolero, morphing into a slinky organ boogie lit up by suspenseful staircases by Tallitsch, they swing it through a series of Middle Eastern-tinged riffs and then out with graceful filigrees from Allen. It’s one of the most evocative jazz songs you’ll hear this year.

They follow that up with the briskly walking Double Shot, which is essentially a souped-up blues with Gold at the absolute top of his game as trickster, setting up a satisfying series of alley-oops from Allen early on, harmonizing with Tallitsch and then casually making his way through a cruelly tricky series of right-vs-left rhythms when it’s time for a solo. By contrast, Perry’s Place could be a lakehouse theme – it seems to be the kind of joint where you can start the day at noon with a hot dog and a couple of bloody marys. Contentment and good companionship shine through Allen’s slow, richly judicious solo, Gold’s sunny midsummer chords and then Tallitsch’s methodical arc to a crescendo. Gold goes back to ham it up again in the funk-infused Flat Stanley; later on, The Lummox is Tallitsch’s moment to draw a caricature – in this case, of somebody who’s basically a hopeless doofus even if they have a serious side.

There are three more tunes here. Travel Companion swings with a carefree but purposeful vibe, Tallitsch reaching for the lows on tenor, Gold switching up his pedal rhythm artfully. Dunes vividly depicts a rolling, crepuscular tableau, a suspenseful series of shifts between sax and organ that Allen eventually gets to spice up with additional bounce. The album winds up with Neil Young’s Don’t Let It Bring You Down, done as you would pretty much expect, understatedly and tastefully, after hearing everything that came before. You could call this a good driving record, and it is, but the thought and creativity that went into it obviously transcends that label: the more you hear it, the better it gets. Another winner from Posi-Tone.

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SaxShed recommends Tom Tallitsch and Brandon Wright…

Posi-Tone Records continues to feature new, young and talented jazz saxophonists. Most recently two such talents have released their newest efforts on CD.

Tom Tallitsch’s “Heads or Tales” and Brandon Wright’s “Journey Man” represent just two of the fine recordings available from Posi-Tone.

Tom Tallitsch’s “Heads or Tales” Press Release reads:

“Tom Tallitsch unleashes a big sound and lets his horn do the talking with “Heads or Tales,” his debut CD for Posi-Tone. Joining Tallitsch on the date is label mate organist Jared Gold, along with the steadfast rhythm section of guitarist Dave Allen and drummer Mark Ferber. Featuring a program of exciting new compositions, and one tasty Neil Young cover thrown in for good measure, this session flows like a compelling collection of short stories, and will certainly speak volumes to discerning listeners about the quality Tallitsch’s talent as player and as a composer. With a delicate balance of modernity and classic aesthetics, “Head or Tales” is insightfully straight ahead and refreshingly melodic enough to evoke a wide assortment of bright moments in jazz fans everywhere.”

Brandon Wright’s Press Release reads:

“Brandon Wright swings out his axe and unleashes a big sound on “Journeyman,” his second release for Posi-Tone Records. Joining Wright on the date is the familiar rhythm section of pianist David Kikoski, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Donald Edwards. With a program of exciting original compositions, and a few tasty covers, the whole session swings into action and shines with bright moments. Wright has noticeably moved to another level. Avid listeners will certainly agree that the record is a hard-hitting performance that will encourage jazz enthusiasts to travel along with the “Journeyman” in amazement and delight.”

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Peter Hum reviews Jared Gold and Tom Tallitsch…

The discs below feature the fine work of organist Jared Gold, who should be on your get-t0-know list if you’re not already familiar with him…

Golden Child (Posi-Tone)
Jared Gold

jaredgold goldenchild mt Vital Organs I (CD reviews)

Attention Larry Goldings, Sam Yahel and other acknowledged contemporary jazz organ masters:  Jared Gold is nipping at your heels.

The young New York organist is amassing some formidable playing credits with the likes of John Abercrombie, Dave Stryker, Oliver Lake and Ralph Bowen. His fifth disc under his own name,  Golden Child,reaffirms that with guitarist Ed Cherry and drummer Quincy Davis, he leads a trio that has it goin’ on.

The CD consists of 11 tracks, sequenced such that Gold wrote all the even-numbered tracks, while the odd-numbered tracks are covers that range from Duke Ellington (In A Sentimental Mood) to ’60s pop and soul (Wichita LinemanA Change Is Gonna Come, I Can See Clearly Now).

Regardless of who wrote them, the consistently potent and satisfying tracks combine to draw a clear picture of Gold’s strengths.

He’s soulful in the extreme on A Change Is Gonna Come, a top-notch disc-opener that you won’t be skipping on repeated listens. On the hippified Wichita Lineman and the quirkier I Can See Clearly Now,  Gold makes some smart harmonic revisions without losing the gist of the original tunes. He cranks up the groove on the somewhat reharmonized In A Sentimental Mood, as you can see in this clip, which features drummer McLenty Hunter rather than Davis:

The swinging’s just as strong — which is to say it’s an exhortation for foot-tapping and head-bobbing– on the minor-key tune I Wanna Walk and Gold’s own Hold That Thought.  The original Times Up is a burner that brings to mind the urgency and power of Larry Young. The grooving’s greasier in a good, New Orleans-inspired way, on 14 Carat Gold. The disc-ending When Its Sleepytime Down South is right on the money.

Throughout, guitarist Cherry is a no-nonsense foil for Gold, as economical and blues-based with his note choices as Gold can be florid and sophisticated. They and Davis are utterly in sync as they shape the flow and craft the details.

Heads Or Tales (Posi-Tone)
Tom Tallitsch

tom tallitsch heads or tales Vital Organs I (CD reviews)

New Jersey-based saxophonist and radio show host Tom Tallitsch presents eight post-bopping originals and a Neil Young cover on his latest CD, which features organist Gold raising the music to a higher level.

Swingers such as the opener Coming Around and the charging tune Double Shotdovetail nicely with Tallitsch’s burly yet breathy playing that at times features long, Lovano-esque, corkscrewing lines.  Here’s a version of Coming Around from an organ-free band led by Tallitsch: 

 I especially like the vibe on the slower, Elvinish tune Tenderfoot, the groove tune Flat Stanley and the waltzing, upbeat tune Dunes, that features a nice gradual build up front.The disc’s only cover, Neil Young’s Don’t Let It Bring You Down, is a short, minimalist reading featuring Tallisch that introduces some welcome vulnerability to the CD’s emotional range. Still, I wonder if the saxophonist could have been more expansive or ambitious with the tune.

Guitarist Dave Allen is a fluent, modern player whose advanced improvising can seem to pick up where Tallitsch leaves off — that’s to Allen’s credit, but it also seems to me that the disc could do with a bit more contrast now and again in terms of the feeling and approaches of these soloists. Mark Ferber drums with his usual spark and precision. Gold, as I mentioned, consistently enlivens the music, and his solos on Tenderfoot and Flat Stanley count as disc highlights.

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Step Tempest reviews Tom Tallitsch “Heads or Tales”…

For “Heads Or Tales“, his 4th CD as a leader (and first for PosiTone Records), tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch convened a group that features Jared Gold (Hammond B-3),Dave Allen (guitar) and Mark Ferber (drums).  Gold’s fine organ work, paired with Allen’s strong single-note lines and supported by Ferber’s insistent percussion, truly set the stage for this music.  Tallitsch has no issue with sharing the spotlight so every player gets his due. Allen shines each time he gets to solo, no more so than on “The Lummox.”   Tallitsch’s tenor style hearkens back to the sounds of early John Coltrane and Don Byas.  You can hear a blues tinge yet he never overplays or just “blows” – his solos “sing”, even on faster tracks such as the high-speed drive of “Double Shot” or the funky, James Brown-influenced “Flat Stanley.”  The ballads, especially “Perry’s Place“, show a tone as sweet as Lester Young and melodic inventions in the manner of Ben Webster.  Yet, Tallitsch is neither a traditionalist nor a throwback.  The rhythms that Gold and Ferber create for these original pieces (the sole exception, the emotionally charged ballad reading of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down“) are up-to-date without kowtowing to “trendiness.”

No need to flip a coin, “Heads Or Tales” is a winner any way you listen to it.  I continue to be impressed with Jared Gold’s versatility and Mark Ferber’s stunning percussion while Dave Allen, who has released several CDs on Fresh Sounds New Talent, adds a sound that works well with the organ and tenor (his rhythm work is also quite good.)  Tom Tallitsch has created a strong program with a group that would “burn down the house” in a club setting.