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Tom Tallitsch’s “Wheelhouse” demonstrates the continued vitality of the hard bop form

Wheelhouse (PR8185)

Wheelhouse is Tom Tallitsch’s fifth outing for Posi-Tone Records (eight overall) from one of the most consistently solid performers in that label’s stable of quality jazz performers. Though this 2018 release again sees the tenor sax master heading up a roster who have led their own notable dates for the label, but this one pairs Tallitsch with a trumpeter for the first time on a Tallitsch record, in the form of the talented Josh Lawrence. Also on board is Jon Davis (piano), Peter Brendler (bass) and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums).

Combine the proven quintet format with Tallitsch’s penchant for penning memorable post-bop and hard bop tunes in the classic style, and Wheelhouse is akin to Blue Note pulling out a vintage mid-sixties session from the vault performed by label heroes Paul Chambers, Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock and the like. Even the spotless, analog-warm production by Marc Free evokes Rudy Van Gelder.

Though Tallitsch has been known to throw out an offbeat cover or two in the past, he sticks to all-originals this go around. “Wheelhouse” features a tale of two rhythm patterns, but when it settles into a swing mindset, Tallitsch displays that ingratiating, soulful tenor in full . Not one to leave a wealth of talent idle, Davis, Lawrence and Sperrazza get their own savory features as well. “Schlep City” is a blues-based shuffle where Lawrence’s trumpet spotlight more than recalls Lee Morgan. Sperrazza’s dynamic rhythm-ing drives “Red Eye” along as Tallitsch and Lawrence combine for funky lead lines prior to them taking turns on thoughtful solos.

Brendler’s bass pattern kicks off the slow swinging “Paulus Hook,” which has a melody imbued with melancholy nicely captured by Tallitsch’s aside. “One For Jonny” is a tender ballad, a choice opportunity for Lawrence to show off a lavish affecting tone. He later fills in some harmony behind the leader’s own heartfelt solo. To top it all off, the swaying soul-jazz of “Gas Station Hot Dog” hearkens back to the RnB-soaked numbers once championed by Morgan and Lou Donaldson, and Davis’ crisp lines here as they are everywhere else are delightful throwback to when jazz piano was played with a lot of soulfulness.

Tom Tallitsch’s Wheelhouse is all in a day’s work for this underappreciated tenor saxman, who once again demonstrates the continued vitality of the hard bop form. If that kind of jazz is in your wheelhouse, then this album is sure to be as well.

Something Else reviews

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Something Else shows it’s Gratitude for Tom Tallitsch’s latest release

mindset2Last spring tenor sax ace Tom Tallitsch put forth his seventh album Gratitude, comprising mostly of songs gestated during a particularly reflective time in his life, a roughly yearlong span during which he lost his father and became one himself. Tallitsch has never been known as someone who composed or played without earnest emotion, so the extra motivation put his personal investment this time on another level….  S. Victor Aaron – Something Else Reviews

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New York City Jazz Record gives a great review of “Gratitude” by Tom Tallitsch

mindset2Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch is an Illinois-bred,
New Jersey-based bandleader and Gratitude is his
seventh album a leader. Tallitsch plays Straightahead
postbop, tossing a few Curve balls to keep things
interesting. He is Of the generation(s) Of players that
doesn’t rely on the Great American Songbook for
material (9 Of the 11 tracks herein are Originals) and he
dips into the rock world for inspiration.
The album opens with “Terrain”, a surging, modal
midtempo tune evoking ’70s McCoy Tyner. Tallitsch
has a notable tone—burly approach of Rollins,
flow of Dexter Gordon and cool of Lester Young, etc.—
but no one influence dominates in a fascinating blend
Of robustness and yearning. Drummer Rudy Royston
kicks up as much dust (and propulsion) as Art Blakey and Jon Davis’ piano is spare, slightly percussive (that
Tyner influence) and possessed of an easy lyricism, He and Tallitsch share a very measured approach. taking
an almost leisurely tack in constructing their solos. Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” might not
seem the kind Of fare a jazz combo might tackle, but Tallitsch shows its majesty. The saxophonist invests
some elegant blues feeling into the proceedings while Davis, Royston and bassist Peter Brendler slyly add a
soul-jazz groove more implied than overt and guest Brian Charette deftly adds slightly gothic-sounding
organ. These lads close out the program with another seemingly unlikely tune, Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You”,
essayed with a gospel feel thanks to organ (especially) and Davis’ sparse, Slightly Thelonious Monk-like
Chords. Tallitsch gets to shine in a poignant manner without ever getting Cloying Or going Over the top.
Gratitude is an album that displays a rare and very engaging balance Of fervor and restraint, expressive
ace musicianship and terseness.

by Mark Keresman – New York City Jazz Record

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Step Tempest shows it’s own – “Gratitude” by Tom Tallitsch

mindset2From the opening seconds of the first track “Terrain”, it’s easy to understand why the new Tom Tallitsch CD, titled “Gratitude” (his 4th for PosiTone Records), is so enjoyable.  The music sounds like vintage John Coltrane, circa 1957, powerful yet accessible and played by a band that is on fire.  The tenor saxophonist surrounds himself with such great players including pianist Jon Davis, bassist Peter Brendler, and drummer Rudy Royston (organist Brian Charette shows up on 2 of the 11 cuts). My affection for the amazing work of Mr. Royston is no secret and the bassist, one of the more melodic and focussed musicians, is very impressive. Davis, who worked with bassist and composer Jaco Pastorius, is a two-fisted delight, supportive and adventurous.

Tallitsch provides his band with a number of strong vehicles, not only for his rich, blues-drenched, sax but also making sure to give everyone a chance to shine.  Listen to how Brendler and Royston drive “Refuge“, their acceleration pulling the sax and pain with them. As is his won’t, the leader does not overplay.  He tends to caress melodies instead of roaring through.  The group’s take on John Lennon’s “Because” starts slowly and sweetly, building during the saxophone solo and hitting its stride during Davis’s strong solo.  The bass counterpoint is also quite nice. Charrette shows up on the other 2 “covers”, “Gold Dust Woman” (by Stevie Nicks) and “Thank You“, one of the few slow tunes on “Led Zeppelin II” (composed by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page).  The folky quality of the original version can be felt on the latter track; with the addition of the organ, one hears the influence of The Band.  The tenor solo near the close of the tune hews closely to the melody and one can hear the gratitude from the lyrics.

Several of the cuts are really barn-burners.  Beside the CD opener, “Alternate Side” fires on all cylinders without overheating.  Tallitsch really digs into his solo, romping atop the active cymbal work and the fast-paced “walking” bass lines. A big dollop of funk is the basis for “Rust Belt” – Brendler’s thick foundation and Royston’s snappy snare work set the tone with the leader and pianist playing with great delight.  Turn it up and watch the speakers shake. More of that Coltrane/McCoy Tyner power enlivens “Oblivion“, the tension created by the rhythm section is thick but enjoyable.

The soulful sounds of the title track serve as a good reminder that the best music is about melody, rhythm, intelligent interplay, and emotion. Jon Davis’s splendid solo on “Gratitude” has so much soul as does the excellent bass work of Peter Brendler; when Tom Tallitsch enters, he plays with such ecstasy goosed on by the impeccable playing of Rudy Royston.  This music sounds so good – engineer Nick O’Toole has such a knack for capturing rhythm sections while not ignoring the front line – and it feels quite good as well. With “Gratitude“, Tom Tallitsch has, arguably, created the best recording of his career.  Keep them coming!

Step Tempest

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Midwest Record is pleased with “Gratitude” by Tom Tallitsch

TOM TALLITSCH/Gratitude:

Loaded with music borne of several personal situations that are life changing, Tallitsch finds his voice in a new place and takes his impressive past to a new level of the game.  With an up and coming murderer’s row of next gen jazz hitters behind him, this thoughtfully swinging set leaps off the disc and shows you just how much variety still lives in the spaces between the eight basic notes.  There is smoking jazz alive and well beyond the corporate world and this is a shining example of it.  Well done.

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Tom Tallitsch “All Together Now” gets coverage from SomethingElse Reviews…

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somethingelsereviews.com

For Tom Tallitsch’s latest album (released last month by Posi-Tone Records), the tenor ace assembles a stellar sextet for All Together Now. With a gathering of Tallitsch on tenor sax, Mike DiRubbo on alto, Michael Dease on trombone, Brian Charette on keyboards, Peter Brendler on bass and Mark Ferber on drums, Tallitsch went all out talent-wise, making this more appropriately “All Star Together Now.”

His fast follow-up to 2014’s Ride again tweaks the band construction from the prior record, with DiRubbo being the key addition. With three horns up front, Tallitsch gets to go more creative with the arrangements and add a forceful, layered swing to the sharp, expressive soloing that these guys were seemingly born to do.

Tallitsch puts this vast array of talent to work on the hot, hard bop originals like “Passages,” Border Crossing” and “Medicine Man”; these are the kind of numbers that make Posi-Tone the closest thing we’ve got today to the classic Blue Note label. The three horn masters all burn on their solos for the opening “Passage,”, and then Charette on piano caps it off with an inspired one of his own. On the second of this trio, Brendler’s taut bass keeps it all locked down as DiRubbo delivers a towering cascade of notes, followed by Tallitsch’s spiritual and spirited turn. Both of these guys also shimmer on “Medicine Man, ” while Dease exploits his extended showcase on the shuffling mid-tempo “Curmudgeon.”

All Together Now isn’t some mere Art Blakey homage, though, even though it’d be a nice one. The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” is the recipient of that old gospel feel with Charette moving over to organ as Tallitsch administers just the right amount of soul and DiRubbo finishes what Tallitsch started. The chorus opens up like angels appearing out of the sky and the whole band ratchets up the passion to dramatic effect. Gospel is visited upon again for “Arches,” resplendent but in a somber way. Charette is heard on electric piano for Frank Zappa and George Duke’s “Uncle Remus,” an overlooked cut from Zappa’s hit album Apostrophe(‘), but Tallitsch recognized Zappa’s underrated flair for a delicate melody and showed how at home this tunes feels in jazzier hands.

In a time when mainstream jazz is often thought of (and sometimes treated) as some stoic museum piece, Tom Tallitsch can always be counted on to counter that notion with a presentation of this idiom that’s dynamic, majestic and yes, a boatload of fun. With All Together Now, the fun continues.

 

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Tom Tallitsch “All Together Now” is reviewed by BuzzardTracks

http://buzzardtracks.blogspot.com

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Tom Tallitsch. All Together Now.

Posi-Tone Records, 2015.  Tom Tallitsch: http://www.tomtallitsch.com/

It must be the season for good jazz releases. Tom Tallitsch’s last CD, Ride, was reviewed here about a year ago, and his releases seem to be coming at a faster rate than ever.  His third album for Posi-Tone brings back two of his bandmates from last year, bassist Peter Brendler and trombonist Michael Dease, replaces the pianist and drummer, and adds an alto sax player Mike DiRubbo for some higher notes. The result is a somewhat richer and fuller sound. Nine of the eleven tunes are originals, with a Zappa composition and one by Robbie Robertson rounding out the set.

Tallitsch covers some of the same ground as he did on the last release, but here he emphasizes gospel and blues. Case in point, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” a classic piece of Americana in the hands of The Band, becomes a gospel showpiece in the hands of this band.  While the gospel influence was always there, Tallitsch really brings it to the front, even while sticking close to the melody. The style is revisited in the closing track, “Arches,” one of his own tunes. Tallitsch plays it light, sweet, and slow, with some lovely solo work by several of the band members. The tune has the same sad, downward drift as the “Midnight Cowboy Theme” (it took me a few minutes to recall what this reminded me of).  On the blues side, “Uncle Remus” takes us furthest into that style, with some delicious keyboard work by Brian Charette, while the Zappa/Duke song “Greasy Over Easy” delivers in similar fashion, with a bit of a soul twist.

Elsewhere, we hear a lot of fine tunes, some faster, some slower, each creating its own space and delivering a different view of the group’s work. “Passages,” the opener, gives everybody a quick solo in fast tempo, as if it were an overture to the rest of the album. “Slippery Rock” takes a slower pace with Tallitsch and DiRubbo trading off on their saxes.  “Border Crossing” lets the group sound nearly like a big band with saxes and trombone all playing in unison, and “Curmudgeon” does the same, but gives Michael Dease a nice chance to be featured with some soulful trombone. “Medicine Man” sounds like Paul Desmond is nearby. Nearly everywhere Brian Charette adds to the mix or provides short pithy solos that sometimes quote familiar tunes. Underneath it all is the fine rhythm section of Brendler and Ferber, anchoring the group strongly, but never ostentatiously so, and occasionally surfacing for a short feature. Sometimes I mention a favorite tune, but here I can’t. They’re all good.

All Together Now gives Tallitsch the opportunity to show off his arranging skills and melodic sensibilities, which are considerable. All of the musicians do an excellent job individually, but the great thing about this album is the ensemble feel.  While everyone gets their chances to solo, just as often two instruments are paired up, and the interplay between them creates fascinating textures throughout. Nobody dominates, and as a result, the title is an apt description of what goes on here. The only thing missing is the Beatles song.
Personnel:  Tom Tallitsch (tenor sax), Mike DiRubbo (alto sax), Michael Dease (trombone), Brian Charette (piano, organ), Peter Brendler (bass), Mark Ferber (drums).
Tracks: Passages, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Slippery Rock, Big Sky, Border Crossing, Curmudgeon, Uncle Remus, Medicine Man, Greasy Over Easy, Dunes, Arches.

 

Jeff Wanser

 

 

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Richard Kamins reviews Tom Tallitsch “All Together Now”…

steptempest.com

Tenor saxophonist and composer Tom Tallitsch is also in CT this Friday (see below) and he, too, is celebrating the release of a new CD.  “All Together Now” is his 6th recording as a leader and the 3rd for Posi-Tone Records.   Fittingly, there are 6 musicians on the date; besides the leader, there’s Mike DiRubbo (alto saxophone), Michael Dease (trombone), Brian Charette (acoustic and electric pianos, organ), Peter Brendler (bass) and Mark Ferber (drums) – all but the drummer have issued albums on the label (DiRubbo and Charette are also CT natives!)


9 of the 11 tracks are Tallitsch originals and display a penchant for strong melodies plus lively arrangements. The first track, “Passages“, jumps right out of the gate with smart rhythmic changes and great blowing all around.  Ferber and Brendler lead the charge, the reeds and brass pick up the and all enjoy the thick cushion of piano chords from Charette. A pleasant surprise comes next with  the gospel-soaked “The Night The Drove Old Dixie Down“, a spotlight for Charette in that both his piano and organ sounds are integral to the texture and movement of the piece.  The leader’s tenor solo stays close to melody and the horns strongly respond in the background (make sure to pay attention Ferber’s brilliant drumming which is something you should always do).

The program contains 11 tracks, only one coming close to 6 minutes, yet the listener is bound to be fully satiated by the sounds.  This is no mere “blowing” session, each song has a solid, even singable, melody line.  Best of all, everyone gets a chance to be heard without the album turning into solo after solo.  That makes the disk feel more like a group effort as if Tallitsch made sure everyone stayed sharp.  For instance, the medium-tempo “Curmudgeon“, contains a bluesy melody line followed by short solos from both saxophonists and Dease; still, it’s the great work from the rhythm section that makes the song feel complete. Yes, these musicians are “pros” but even the most dedicated ones don’t always give their all.  No such issue here – even blues tunes such as “Greasy Over Easy” have a snap in tier swagger.  The CD closes with “Arches“, another piece with a gospel feel, a handsome melody, smart harmonies and more strong work from the rhythm section.  The electric piano, full bass notes and excellent brushes work set up the solos.  Bassist Brendler is oh-so-melodic in his short solo, setting up Charette’s short statement that leads to a soulful tenor spotlight while the alto and trombone   sway in the background.  The closing notes fade easily, a perfect close to an impressive session.

All Together Now” lives up to its name, 6 musicians gathering for 1 day in the studio and creating a “joyful noise.”  Post-Tone Records is celebrating its 20th year in a grand way, producing albums that are among the best producer Marc Free and engineer Nick O’Toole have sent our way – this just may be the best CD Tom Tallitsch has issued…so far.  To find out more, go to www.tomtallitsch.com.

 

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Some more coverage for Tom Tallitsch “Ride”…

www.freewheelinmusic.com

New Jazz from NJ Saxophonist Tom Tallitsch – Ride!! (Video)

RideSo this morning I loaded up two new jazz albums on the iPhone to serve as the soundtrack for my trip to Trader Joe’s, and then proceeded to listen to neither of the albums!! What I did listen to on the way over was Ride the great new release from New Jersey resident Tom Tallitsch!! The album has been on the iPhone for a week or more now and the more I listen to it, the more I like it!!

Tom is another one of those busy busy people who seem to thrive on having a lot of irons in the fire!! He Tom Tallitschis a  Saxophonist, Composer, Recording Artist, Music Educator, and Host of ‘The Modern Jazz Radio Show’!! The album Ride had me from the very first track, which is also the title track!. “Ride” opens with Tom’s sax and the rhythm section of bassist Peter Brendler, drummer  Rudy Royston and the trombone of Michael Dease. leading the way to the terrific piano of Art Hirahara, who hands off to Royton, who provides a great drum solo before returning to Tom’s tenor saxophone – it’s a great ride!!

But back to all those other hats talented Tom wears. Tom…

 

But back to all those other hats talented Tom wears. Tom…

…is musical director, and composer for the multi-media dance company Big Sky Project, founded by his wife Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch.

….owns a highly recommended music tutoring business in Princeton, NJ

….is a popular jazz educator and clinician. He is the founding director of the Central NJ Homeschool Bands, works as a piano tutor to students with autism at The Princeton Child Development Institute

…..was a member of the artist faculty at Mercer County Community College from 1999-2006. He

…..has taught at The Westminster Conservatory, Philadelphia Clef Club, Creative Music Studios, The Groove Academy, and many more.  He

…..is a gifted music educator who has given lectures and clinics at many top high schools including The Lawrenceville School and The Pennington School. He has had students continue on to pursue professional careers at conservatories throughout the country.

….hosts his own jazz radio show titled “The Modern Jazz Radio Show” on the Mercer County Jazz Station WWFM Jazzon2 89.1 HD2. The show features Tom’s own personal jazz picks and commentary, and airs every Thursday evening from 8:00 to 10:00 pm.  Weekly playlists are sent to all artists, record companies, and publicists. Complete biography

When Tom a native of Cleveland, Ohio, does get to go home, which appears to happen rarely it is to Jersey City!!

So check out this fine album! As for me, I’m listening to the latest release from Art Hirahara, as I type this, and plan on checking out a few of Tom’s other releases!!

 

 

 

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Step Tempest goes on about Tom Tallitsch’s “Ride”…

steptempest.blogspot.com

Ride” is the 5th CD saxophonist/composer Tom Tallitsch has issued and his second for Posi-Tone Records.  Born in Ohio and now living in Jersey City, New Jersey, Tallitsch has a busy schedule of teaching and playing plus a weekly radio show (8 – 10 p.m. Thursday on WWFM-Jazzon2).  This CD features the impressive rhythm section of Art Hirahara (piano), Peter Brendler (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) with trombonist Michael Dease joining the front line on 8 of the 11 tracks.

The program opens with the title track, an intense “Ride” for the quartet pushed by the intense drum work of Royston and Tallitsch’s strong tenor work.  Hirahara matches that intensity with a blazing solo that displays the influence of McCoy Tyner.  “Rubbernecker” has a similar feel but with a deceptive melody. Again, the rhythm section lights the fire and the leader carries the torch through a fiery solo.  The soulful ballad “Rain” displays another side of Tallitsch’s playing, his full-tone and sustained notes telling a story.  Brendler takes a very melodic solo over the simple time-keeping of Royston and Hirahara’s impressionistic chords. “Life on Mars” is an intelligent reading of the David Bowie composition, Tallitsch’s tenor sticking to the melody supported by Dease’s trombone and the fulsome piano chords.  Dease also adds heft to the melody line and backgrounds of “The Giving Tree” – his full tone adds a hearty counterpoint to the tenor on the group’s reading of Led Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone.”  Dease steps out on the Tallitsch original “El Luchador“, his intense solo pushing the bass and drums to respond in kind. The Quintet “gets down” on “Knuckle Dragger“, a pleasing slab of funky blues that is ever-so-playful.

Tom Tallitsch is one of those rare contemporary tenor saxophonists who does not sound overly influenced by John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter or Michael Brecker.  He’s studied with both Joe Henderson and Chris Potter plus it’s obvious from his wide-ranging material that he listens to many different styles of music.  The band on “Ride” makes music that not only captures your ears but also your soul – to take a test drive, go to www.posi-tone.com/ride/ride.html.