Dusty Groove – Tenorist Tom Tallitsch has gotten plenty of love from our ears in recent years – and with a record as great as this, he’s bound to get plenty more! Tom comes on strong with a really deep tenor sound – a mode that we might put in a range between Hank Mobley and Eric Alexander – boldly rhythmic, but also very skilled at personal phrasing – with solos that fly out effortlessly on top of a crack rhythm combo that features Jon Davis on piano, Peter Brendler on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums – deeply exploring the full range of the tenor, but never in a way that calls attention to its process. Brian Charette joins the group on Hammond for two tracks – but most of the set is from the quartet, who play mostly originals from Tom – including “Terrain”, “Kindred Spirit”, “Refuge”, “Northeast”, “Alternate Side”, “Oblivion”, and “Rust Belt”
Something Else Reviews – S. Victor Aaron 7/20/2016 – Last 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. Adding to the mojo of Gratitude (Posi-Tone Records) is arguably the most potent lineup on a Tallitsch record yet: Jon Davis (piano), Peter Brendler (bass), Rudy Royston (drums) and for a couple of cuts, Brian Charette on the B3. For “Terrain” (video of live performance above) Royston is explosive out the gate, and Tallitsch contrasts with a laid back, soul-drenched manner. Davis takes over and matches Royston’s fire with some smoldering licks of his own. “Refuge” has classic post-bop tune written all over it though it’s a Tallitsch original. It alternately bops and swings in equally authoritative measure and Davis again nearly steals the show. “Kindred Soul” is another sweet sack of soul jazz, and Royston again makes hay while Tallitsch shows off the kind of classic tenor tone that’s made so many fall in love with jazz over the years; Brendler leaves behind an especially poetic bass solo. “Northeast” is a slight downshift from the feistier numbers which shows Tallitsch’s a gift for getting the most mileage from his pretty melody while “Rust Belt” is a pretty good demonstration of Royston’s aptitude make a song funky in a jazzy way. Brendler binds to the sophisticated rhythm and the two make Tallitsch’s and Davis’ work easier. “Ghost Dust Woman” continues Tallitsch penchant for selecting a few classic rock songs and putting his own stamp on it while respecting the original melody, and Charette’s organ adds a dash of emotional heft. Charette’s gospel organ swell on Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” turns this acoustic rocker into a Sunday Morning chant and the Abbey Road deep cut Because” is a given a more passionate, somewhat turbulent reading in Tallitsch’s hands. Then again, anything in Tallitsch’s hands seems to turn into post-bop gold. That’s because he always writes and arranges with finesse, enlists a top drawer backing band and owns a vintage tenor sax sound and phraseology. With these ingredients all present in Gratitude, it’s just hard to go wrong with this record.
NYC Jazz Record – Mark Keresman July 2016
Jazz Da Gama. Raul Da Gama 5/2/2016 A fierce energy leaps out os the opening chords of ‘Terrain’ that heralds the coming of ten other wonderful tunes on Gratitude an album of considerable import. Eight of these charts have been composed by the tenor saxophonist. But getting off to an immensely exciting start to this recording has you on the edge of your seat. Primary colours abound in the orchestral textures of this quintet, and a leaping performance by Tom Tallitsch keeping the music on a tight rein, with rhythms and phrasing precise and alert. It’s a shock, sometimes, to hear the onrush of such fine music move so seamlessly from one song to the other, rarely losing its kinetic energy. The grainy sound that Tallitsch generates gives a lightness and transparency of texture, and he keeps the music moving so that you can easily be seduced into getting up and cutting the proverbial rug. Capture all that in a recording that gives space to the sound, but not too much clouding resonance, and you have a winner.
Step Tempest. Richard Kamins 3/25/16 From 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 1975, 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! For more information, go to www.tomtallitsch.com or www.posi-tone.com/gratitude/gratitude.html.
GinaLovesJazz.com Matthias Kirsch 3/16/16 Tenor saxophonist, composer, and educator Tom Tallitsch who has been around performing and recording for about 25 years now, puts a lot of personal grief and joy into his latest recording “Gratitude”. During the process of recording and writing this album, his father died from a brief illness and Tom himself became a father at the end of January, just a couple of months before the release date of the album, which is March 25th (congratulations Father Tom). Most of the songs were written during his rides from New York to Cleveland to help his family and the choice of the three covers is simply excellent. I can’t help but congratulate him on choosing the Stevie Nicks classic “Gold Dust Woman” (from “Rumours”) as a part of his latest project. I’ve been waiting for so long for someone to re-imagine and re-interpret the Fleetwood Mac songs prom their most productive and imaginative period, circa 1974-1980. Pianist Jon Davis, who also has a great new album out on Posi-Tone under his own name (see review on these pages), starts off the track in soulful, bluesy fashion before Tom states the melody. “Rock on, gold dust woman/Take your silver spoon and dig your grave” – the tune is elaborately transformed into a moody, denunciating piece with some extra spice thrown in by organist Brian Charente. The album starts off with the brooding “Terrain” and continues with a hilariously relaxed “Kindred Spirit” with ample bass work by Peter Brendler and luxurious drum play coming from Rudy Royston. There is a lot of burning playing with interesting shifts and styles on “Refuge” and more healing and stimulating textures on the soothing “Northeast” where Jon shines on a short, but effective solo. Is it because Tom is also writing for dance companies that his compositions all have this compelling, impacting quality? “Alternate Side” has this exuberant vibe with a lot of expressive blowing, but still retains a well-rounded ethos. “Because”, the Beatles number from their 1969 “Abbey Road” album, is a welcome change in pace with its meditative touch before it gets grittier again on “Rust Belt”, which Tom wrote at his parent’s home in Cleveland on a winter day after his father’s wake. It is full of question marks, outbursts, cries, and anger as well. A powerful piece. The title track, on the other side, represents a much sunnier, contented part of this well-balanced set. The only track that sounds too confusing and uneven to me (maybe it’s intended like that) is “Oblivion”. Tom finishes the album with another tune that was originally written in 1969: Led Zeppelin‘s “Thank You”, again with Brian Charette on organ, is a reflective, down-to-the-bone, entertaining rendition. So who is going to record the Fleetwood Mac songbook please?
Burning Ambulance. Phil Freeman 3/25/16 New Jersey-based tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch is one of the most interesting artists on the Posi-Tone label. He’s made three albums for them to date, and while his music is hard bop at its core, he’s always got a few genuine surprises up his sleeve. Most often, these come in the form of interpretations of rock tunes. He began this pattern when he recorded Stevie Wonder‘s “Visions” on 2005’s self-released Duality, dropped it for two albums, then picked it up again in earnest on his Posi-Tone discs. He closed 2012’s Heads or Tales with a mournful take on Neil Young‘s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”; David Bowie‘s “Life on Mars” and Led Zeppelin‘s “Ten Years Gone” were reinterpreted on 2014’s Ride (probably his most satisfying album to date, recorded with trombonist Michael Dease, pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Peter Brendler and drummer Rudy Royston); and versions of the Band‘s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and George Duke‘s “Uncle Remus” (co-written with Frank Zappa) appeared on 2015’s All Together Now., which featured Dease, alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo, pianist Brian Charette, Brendler, and drummer Mark Ferber. His fourth Posi-Tone album, Gratitude, is out March 25. (Get it from Amazon.) The band includes pianist Jon Davis, Brendler on bass, and Royston on drums, and there’s a story behind its title. It was recorded in autumn 2015, just about six months after Tallitsch’s father died. It will be released two weeks after the anniversary of his passing, and two months after the birth of Tallitsch’s first child. He says, “I know that the creation of this album has been an essential part of the healing process as I move into new chapters in my life. It is a gift for me to be able to share it with you, and I am grateful for it. My hope is that while listening to the music you will pause to find peace and reflect on the things in your life that give you gratitude.”
Along with eight swinging, melodic Tallitsch originals, Gratitude contains a few interpretations of rock songs: the Beatles‘ “Because,” a gospelized version of Led Zeppelin‘s “Thank You,” and the track we’re premiering today, an atmospheric, melancholy reworking of Fleetwood Mac‘s “Gold Dust Woman.” On the latter two tracks, the core band is joined by Brian Charette on organ.
Tallitsch says of “Gold Dust Woman”:
“‘Gold Dust’ may be the one track that has little to no meaning on this album if you consider the original lyrics. I just love the basic chord changes and the idea of having a long, open vamping section for the band to open up on. During the times that I was on the road early last year, I just kept coming back to that track on the Rumours album. The song just hit me as a spacey vibe that we could really build as an ensemble. I arranged it originally for my All Together Now Sextet and performed it a handful of times with them throughout 2015. I think that I have a video of us somewhere that was taken from Birdland last spring.
“I knew that this particular rhythm section would eat it up. I always know that bassist Peter Brendler will know whatever rock tunes that I pick out. I wasn’t concerned at all about Jon and Rudy. How could you be? They are such amazing professionals and creators, that I knew they they would fit into any idea that was presented. Overall the band really dug playing it. Brian Charette was in for his session the day after mine and ended up laying down the organ track.”
Lucid Culture/New York Music Daily. Alan Young 7/4/2015 Richly Tuneful Tenor Saxophonist Tom Tallitsch Puts Out Another Great Album, With a 55 Bar Show To steal a phrase from his fellow tenor saxophonist JD Allen, Tom Tallitsch plays jukebox jazz: hard-hitting, toe-tapping music enhanced by a shot and a beer. Esteemed by his peers in the New York jazz scene, it’s a crime he’s not better known. In a sense, he’s a throwback to guys like the Adderleys, but with more focus. His latest album is All Together Now, leading a sizzling sextet with Mike DiRubbo on alto, Michael Dease on trombone, B3 monster Brian Charette taking a rare turn on piano, with the hardworking rhythm section of Peter Brendler on bass and Mark Ferber on drums. Tallitsch’s next gig is at 10 PM on July 8 at 55 Bar with a similarly good sextet. His compositions are full of hooks, and unexpected interludes, and ideas, and trajectories and narratives. The album opens with a characteristically catchy, bustling number, Passages, a harried latin theme with purposefully percolating solos from Dease and the bandleader himself. Hearing Charette, a brilliantly unorthodox organist, on his original instrument, the piano, is a trip, and he acquits himself well as a salsa jazz guy. Who knew! You might not think that the Band’s The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down would translate to jazz, and apparently Tallitsch doesn’t think so either – this version finds the band reinventing it as brightly festive, summer-night southern soul. And it beats the hell out of the original. Then the band switches back to a wickedly good, original Jimmy Smith/latin jazz mashup with Slippery Rock, Charette’s offcenter chords – is that a DX7, or has he found a way to get that weird, echoey sound out of a Rhodes? – anchored by Tallitsch’s sailing lines, holding it together from way up high. The aptly titled Big Sky opens with a pastoral theme but shifts in a second into shuffling wee-hours, distantly latin-flavored ambience, Ferber’s deliciously flurrying drums with Tallitsch and DiRubbo maxing out the red-neon flavor. The most epic track here, Border Crossing is classic Tallitsch, an almost viciously swinging, vampy number, the composer’s own lively opening solo contrasting with Charette’s tightly wound, scampering attack, Ferber driving the big, concluding horn chart home with an unexpected ending.Curmudgeon is a subtly funny shout-out to Dave Brubeck, everybody in the band playing their cards close to the vest. The second cover here is a casually swinging, goodnatured take of Frank Zappa’s Uncle Remus, a launching pad for a long, warmly crescendoing Tallitsch solo. Medicine Man brings back the Brubeck edge and catchiness, with a tightly unwinding horn chart, DiRubbo working in reverse, taking it down gently from Tallitsch’s after-the-grenade smokiness. Greasy Over Easy is a slow, genial minor swing number, Tallitsch adding a counterintuitive edge by bouncing around rather than going for gravitas, Dease doing the same thing. Dunes, a shapeshifting, vividly uneasy jazz waltz follows; the album winds up with the slowly swaying, boisterously and then very subtly gospel-infused Arches. This isn’t a collection of knock-you-off-your-stool moments – it’s more like keep-you-at-the-bar moments. You don’t want to get up and leave because the band is so good. The album hasn’t hit the usual streaming spots yet, but you can get a good idea of where Tallitsch is coming from, with lots of audio at Posi-Tone Records and their soundcloud page, as well as Tallitsch’s own page.
Downbeat Magazine. Michael Jackson August Edition 2015. Cleveland-bred tenorist Tom Tallitsch is clearly an inclusive dude, if his résumé as a teacher in Princeton, New Jersey, and beyond is anything to go by. Among other activities, he founded the Central New Jersey Homeschool Bands, has taught piano to children with disabilities and worked with dancers and choreographers. So the community-conscious title of his latest album, All Together Now, seems a natural fit for Tallitsch’s tightknit yet soulful recording. Save for Frank Zappa and George Duke’s “Uncle Remus” and The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”—a Civil War eulogy fueled by Brian Charette’s churchy organ and overdubbed piano—the remaining 11 titles were composed by the leader. The anthemic “Big Sky” is not for the town in Montana but for dance company Big Sky Project, founded by Tallitsch’s wife; Peter Brendler’s urgent bass line suggests the scurrying of disposed fugitives in “Border Crossing,” as does Charette’s nimble solo; Tallitsch’s blunt-nosed, garrulous tenor doesn’t sound unduly curmudgeonly on that eponymous track, nor does Michael Dease’s useful trombone or the alto of Mike DiRubbo. But several cuts here carry the vibe of battle-scarred triumph against adversity. Layered meter and rhythmic buoyancy are inherent in Tallitsch’s conceptions, and drummer Mark Ferber’s crisp time gives the proceedings a hearty thrust, even during the laid-back “Greasy Over Easy,” where Dease’s excellent, brisk solo might have benefited from cup mute action to boost the lard. There is a pervading 6/8 feel to the mellow closer “Arches” and elsewhere, tethering the breezy synch of this simpatico sextet and pulling the listener with it. —Michael Jackson All Together Now: Passages; The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down; Slippery Rock; Big Sky; Border Crossing; Curmudgeon; Uncle Remus; Medicine Man; Greasy Over Easy; Dunes; Arches. (50.27) Personnel: Tom Tallitsch, tenor saxophone; Mike DiRubbo, alto saxophone; Michael Dease, trombone; Brian Charette, piano, organ; Peter Brendler, bass; Mark Ferber, drums.
Something Else Reviews. S. Victor Aaron 5/26/15 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.
The New York Times – Nate Chinen Tom Tallitsch is a tenor saxophonist whose new album, “All Together Now,” highlights his strengths in a swinging mode. Celebrating the album’s release, he leads a band with Mike DiRubbo on alto saxophone, David Gibson on trombone, Brian Charette on piano, Peter Brendler on bass and Mark Ferber on drums.
Buzzard Tracks Jeff Wanser 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 the the Beatles song.
Philadelphia City Paper. Shaun Brady – Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch possesses a warm, singing tone and a knack for melodic fluidity in both his writing and his soloing. On his latest, All Together Now (Posi-Tone), Tallitsch couches that sound in three-horn sextet arrangements, a lineup he’ll reprise at Chris’ on Friday. On the album, unexpected covers of The Band and Frank Zappa sit comfortably alongside his own smart, unassuming originals.
WDCM 90.9 FM Chicago. Jazz Music Lounge 4/27/15 Paul Abella – Finally, saxophonist Tom Tallitsch has a new side out on Posi-Tone Records called All Together Now. I became a fan of Tom’s after his last disc, Ride. Tom’s an “in the pocket” player with the ability to write some pretty cool tunes, and he’s got an ear for turning pop and rock “deep cuts” into outstanding jazz. He does that here on The Band’s The Night They Drove Dixie Down and Frank Zappa’s Uncle Remus. Add in some really nice writing for a three-horn front line, and you’ve got a cookin’ disc that you’ll be hearing a lot of in the coming weeks here on WDCB.
Bird Is The Worm 4/24/15 Dave Sumner – 5 Stars – Strong blues influence on this personable recording from tenor saxophonist Tallitsch. With one half of the sextet’s slots taken up by wind instruments, there’s plenty of warmth from harmonies, plenty of heat from solos. A nifty cover of Zappa’s “Uncle Remus” fits right in with the solid originals.
Step Tempest 4/20/15 – 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. As stated above, Mr. Tallitsch is in CT this week, bring his Sextet to The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme on Friday night. Joining him from the recording session will be saxophonist DiRubbo and bassist Brendler plus the fine trombonist David Gibson and pianist Jon Davis (also with 2015 releases on Posi-Tone) – drummer Paul Wells, who works with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks and with vocalist Curtis Stigers, will sit in the drum chair. Doors – front and “side” – open at 7:30 p.m. and the band hits the stage at 8:30. Call 860-434-0886 for reservations and more information.
Dusty Groove & Jazz Chill Blogspot 4/14/15 -A great one from tenorist Tom Tallitsch – a player we love more and more with each new record! Tom’s not just a hell of a player, but a great writer too – and his compositions here are filled with a sense of life and soul that’s much deeper than you might expect from the album’s cover – that kind of subtle brilliance that’s really making the Posi-tone label one of the best in contemporary jazz these days – especially with artists like Tallistch on their roster! The group also features work from other great labelmates – Mike DiRubbo on alto, Michael Dease on trombone, and Brian Charette on piano and organ – on a set of excellent tracks that include “Passages”, “Slippery Rock”, “Big Sky”, “Border Crossing”, “Curmudgeon”, and “Dunes”.
All About Jazz – Dan Bilawski 4/14/15 —the sixth overall effort from tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch, and his third for the Posi-tone imprint—is a well-balanced musical affair built around a surefooted and wholly capable sextet. Tallitsch works with a rhythm section and two other horns here, creating smart and uncluttered settings that showcase the musicians without boxing them in. He works various stylistic angles into his compositions, touching on myriad moods in the process. There’s a driving tune that vacillates between swing and Latin feels (“Passages”), an up-tempo burner (“Border Crossing”), a soulful twist on a Frank Zappa number (“Uncle Remus”), a truncated take on a classic from The Band (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”), and a loping swing jaunt (“Greasy Over Easy”). In each of the aforementioned instances, and elsewhere on the album, Tallitsch manages to include some simple yet effective arranger’s touches—harmonized horns here, background riffs there, shifting textures, and more—while stilling retaining the vibe of a solos-for-everyone session. And with the string of solos on the album opener, he makes it clear that there will be room to blow on this one. Each and every piece gives pause to admire different soloists and/or musical relationships. One number might bring to light the differences and similarities between Tallitsch’s tenor approach and Mike DiRubbo‘s alto work (“Slippery Rock”), another may see pianist/organist Brian Charette ripping through the music while tossing out a choice quote (“Border Crossing”), and a third may find bassist Peter Brendler and Charette working in a reflective space (“Arches”). And that’s just a brief sampling of what happens in each of those pieces. The bigger picture in each number is about the balance between personalized expression and group dynamics, as All Together Now speaks to Tallitsch’s talents as player and writer, the individual viewpoints of his band mates, and the collective spirit that comes through in these performances.
Midwest Record – Chris Spector 4/7/15 – When tall Tom Tallitsch says it’s all together now, one listen to this set will have you wondering just which way he means it as this sextet is cooking on all eight. A stone cold groove of a classic sounding/feeling date where most of the tunes are originals, this is a mainstream groovers paradise that your ears will demand repeated playings because they can’t take it all in at once. The template for others to follow if they want to hit it out of the park, this is a sax man that knows his ax, man, inside out. Killer stuff.
US1 Newspaper – Richard J. Skelly 10/22/14 Like a lot of the young lions in the world of traditional jazz, saxophonist, pianist, composer, and band leader — and now host of a jazz radio program on Mercer County Community College’s jazz radio station, WWFM2 — Tom Tallitsch was raised with rock ‘n’ roll. And while the musician who will be appearing at the Small World Coffee in Princeton on Saturday, October 25, initially identified with rock and its growing range, he knew from age 15 that he wanted to play jazz. It helped that he grew up in Cleveland and later attended school in Cincinnati, two cities with still-vibrant jazz club scenes.
“When I was growing up there was the Bop Stop, the Boarding House, Sixth Street Under, and [prominent] tenor player Joe Lovano is from Cleveland, so I saw him play a bunch of times,” says Tallitsch via cell phone while parked on Nassau Street after wrapping up a Monday evening teaching students piano and saxophone.
“There were players there too, like Mike Lee, whom I studied with; he lives in Montclair now, but he played in the Vanguard Band and the Woody Herman Band. There were a lot of strong tenor players that were rooted in the bebop tradition,” says the 40-year-old son of a teacher mother and father who runs a sales consultancy business.
Tallitsch has moved around a lot: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Hamilton Township, Trenton, and now, since 2009, Jersey City. Yet Tallitsch, who lived in Hamilton Township for 11 years, still has strong connections with the Trenton jazz scene and plays and teaches in the area.
Tallitsch still loves a lot of rock ‘n’ roll, but seems happy to say that “the first album my dad gave me was Benny Goodman ‘Live at Carnegie Hall.’ I had a bunch of Benny Goodman records, and then some Cleveland guys said, ‘you got to check out [late saxophonist] Stan Getz.’ From the time I was 13 or 14 years old I remember telling my grandfather I wanted to be a jazz musician.
“At the time I had bad grades in school and my parents didn’t know what the hell was going on with me. But they would let me go out to these clubs and see jazz people and hang out there, a lot. That’s what I decided I wanted to do. I don’t think I was thinking about money at all. I was thinking about playing my horn; that’s all I wanted to do. I was fortunate there were so many great educators in Cleveland. I just loved it, man. That’s all I thought about.”
Talking about the difference between rock and jazz performances, Tallitsch says, “I love Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, but the driving bebop saxophone of Stan Getz and Charlie Parker or the early Coltrane stuff with Miles [Davis] was the music that appealed to me the most. I loved that guys would improvise on the blues. Then I would go see rock guys in concert, and they would play the same solos that were on the record, note-for-note.”
He adds other loves and influences: electric blues guitarists Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Albert King; the great music on the radio stations in both Cleveland and Cincinnati; and mentors. “I had some great teachers with saxophone, and they would lay these records on me. One teacher in Cincinnati had a wall full of vinyl albums with all the obscure stuff that came out on BlueNote records,” he says.
Tallitsch attended the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music and got his B.A. in jazz studies. Now aside from leading his own trios, quartets, and sextets, he also frequently performs with Trenton organist Tom Passarella and old school guitarist and vocalist Bob Smith.
“Each of my bands has a different flavor, and I love playing in the organ group with Tommy Pass and Bob Smith, because they have great ears and know how to get into a groove. Since I’ve been living up in Jersey City a lot of the stuff I do now revolves around writing my own music and playing my own compositions,” he says, noting he recently recorded his sixth album in September. It is his third release for the Los Angeles-based PosiTone, where his label mates include Orrin Evans and saxophonist/arranger Ralph Bowen of the Rutgers Jazz Ensemble.
So is Tallitsch, — whose wife, Carrie Ellmore, is a choreographer and dance instructor with her own studio — slowly making a name for himself in New York?
“When I first came up to New York in the late 1990s, I felt like it was something to be conquered. I’ve realized since then that it’s not, it’s a community. Now, if I see a tenor player walking down the street, I want to talk to him. Every night you hear the greatest stuff in clubs. (Audiences) want to hear original music, but it’s got to be swinging, and it’s got to be cutting edge,” says Tallitsch, who plays mostly tenor saxophone but also plays alto and soprano on his records and an occasional clarinet and flute.
To make extra money he provides music instruction privately and for institutions, including the past eight years at the Princeton Child Development Institute on Cold Soil Road, where he has instructed autistic children and adults on playing piano, reed instruments, and flute.
Of the challenges entailed in working with individuals on the autism spectrum, Tallitsch says it requires a positive outlook and enthusiasm. “If you make it fun and they have some sort of reward, they’ll go for it. Some of the students really can’t even speak, but over a few weeks or a month, you can teach them a full song. I’ve taught a number of my students some standards and how to improvise over the blues.”
Some of his autistic students have great ears and can read music really well, but others cannot hear as well. “I find when I get frustrated with them, it’s something wrong with me; I’m tired or hungry or it’s just not going my way,” he says.
Not unlike other musicians, Tallitsch found himself burning out on Atlantic City gigs and weddings, so he decided to concentrate on his own compositions and leading his own small groups. “I found I really liked teaching and that allowed me to cut out a lot of the gigs that I didn’t want to play anymore,” he says.
His work now includes putting a jazz spin on rock tunes. “It’s a recent thing I’ve been doing, taking a song that is not a mainstream rock song to arrange. It’s a challenge to not play it verbatim but to make it hip; a lot of these tunes have really basic chords. I have a few ideas for my next record, find some more obscure rock tunes, like a Frank Zappa tune, and rearrange that. The people at PosiTone Records really like it,” he says.
Aside from his private teaching and performing activities in jazz clubs in New York City and New Jersey, Tallitsch is an area presence with his weekly radio show on the Internet station, WWFM. His digitally recorded shows are heard every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. “I think I have about 110 episodes. I pre-record them and play jazz that’s come out over the last five years. I play people I know from up in the city and people I idolize and love, heavy cats that might not get the exposure otherwise.”
So are Tallitsch’s club performances like the radio shows? “A little bit, but a lot of times at gigs, we just play. I might speak a little bit about the music, but we want to take people on a journey.”
Given that he’s only 40 and lived in so many places that should be easy enough for this now-veteran jazz man to do.
JazzWrap – Stephan Moore 8/16/14 I just recently saw Tom Tallitsch perform in New York and was completely blow away. In addition, I was kicking myself as to why I never saw him perform before, as I have been a big fan for the last couple of years. But no matter, his live performance was just as stellar as his studio work. And his newest release,Ride is solid and well composed second effort worth every note. One of the great things I’ve always enjoyed about Tom Tallitsch is his versatility. He can shift gears from a bold Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan style to softer more emotional Sonny Rollins with each piece. Ride features that diversity early on with the opener, “Ride” is hard hitting and ferocious number that showcases Tallitsch big approach with this composition. While the very interesting cover of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” and “Rain” are a great examples of Tallitsch moving in a more reserved and mid-tempo territory. Dease, Royston and Tallitsch give the rock classic and definitive spiritual feeling that complements the Bowie masterpiece warmly. “Rain,” meanwhile feels both gospel influenced yet encompassing a soulfulness that shines above as one of my favourite tracks on the album.”Knuckle Dragger” is another beautiful moment which Tallitsch highlights both great songwriting and leadership. A funky number that allows Dease, Hirahara and Brendler to stretch and provide some muscular flavour to session. It’s a nice extend number that blossoms towards the end of this session. Tom Tallitsch is now a veteran of the New York scene that really deserves wider recognition. Ride is another bright and confident addition to his cannon and well worth any jazz fans attention. And if he’s playing in your city, don’t be arse like me and wait forever to see him.
Buzzard Tracks – Jeff Wanser 7/30/14 Tom Tallitsch isn’t part of the local music scene. He lives in New Jersey, plays a lot in New York and Philadelphia. He wasn’t even born in Northeast Ohio, so why are we reviewing his latest CD? Because I discovered that he grew up in Westlake, took lessons from Ernie Krivda, and has lately been playing around town, so we are more than happy to take him on in Buzzard Tracks. Tallitsch went on to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, works as a music educator at all levels, has a music tutoring business in Princeton, and his own radio show in Central NJ. Lots of irons in the fire. This is his fifth release as a leader, his second for Posi-Tone, and his first with this group of musicians. Nine of the eleven tracks on the album are original compositions, the exceptions being “Life on Mars,” a Bowie tune, and “Ten Years Gone,” from Led Zeppelin. Some rock songs translate well into jazz, others not so much. I really like “Ten Years Gone,” with its piano opening, slow workup to a climax, and big band sound. “Life on Mars,” on the other hand, sounds rather pop-like, the sort of thing more likely covered by a smooth jazz group, and although Tallitsch does a decent job with it, to me it never sounds comfortable. Art Hirahara on piano has some nice work here, and makes the tune sound like “Layla” at the end. The title track opener is an absolutely delightful hard bop romp and a fine way to start the album. Tallitsch fronts extensively here, which makes sense, to establish the tone of the program, although Hirahara gets some time, and Rudy Royston takes a drum solo. The album could just as easily started off with “Rubbernecker,” although that’s probably not a good name for an album (unless you’re in country music). Again, Tallitsch is strong on his tenor sax soloing, with a fine, rich sound (I can hear Joe Henderson here, as well as Krivda), and the rhythm section is very much in the foreground. In “The Giving Tree” I can really hear the bass work of Peter Brendler coming through the mix along with the rest of the rhythm section, and the ensemble as a whole seems completely present and very tight in this uptempo track. Michael Dease finally gets his chance to solo in “El Luchador,” (reference to a Mexican wrestler) a soulful extended number that, like nearly everything else on the album, has memorable melodies and excellent ensemble playing. “Knuckle Dragger” takes us more into blues territory, with Dease and Tallitsch working beautifully together and trading solos. Tallitsch plays low here, seeming to try to match Dease’s trombone, and it gets pretty intense. Tallitsch changes things up several times through the album with ballads or other slower tunes. “Rain” is the first, and is a lovely tune, very soulfully played. It’s gospel-like chords are combined with straight ahead balladry, and the melody sticks in the head. “The Myth” takes the tempo a bit faster at times, and Tallitsch takes his tenor sax into the stratosphere occasionally in what I can only describe as a sound story. There’s a lot of excellent work by Hirahara in this one, as well as the rest of the rhythm section. The last track, “Turtle,” seems a mixed bag of tricks, but a successful one with solos by Dease and Tallisch dominating. This is great music in the hard bop and straight ahead tradition, and it never flags in terms of its melodicism, quality of playing, ensemble togetherness, and variety. A fine release from this quintet. Personnel: Tom Tallitsch (tenor sax), Michael Dease (trombone), Art Hirahara (piano), Peter Brendler (bass), Rudy Royston (drums). Tracks: Ride, Life on Mars, Rubbernecker, Rain, The Giving Tree, Ten Years Gone, El Luchador, The Myth, Knuckle Dragger, The Path, Turtle.
Step Tempest – Richard B. Kamins 3/26/14 “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 towww.posi-tone.com/ride/ride.html. To find out more about the saxophonist, go to www.tomtallitsch.com.
Burning Ambulance – Josh Freeman 3/10/14 Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch has put together a tight, empathetic band for his second CD on the Posi-Tone label (fifth release overall). Ride (buy it from Amazon/download it from Amazon MP3) features nine of his own compositions and two covers—David Bowie‘s “Life On Mars” and Led Zeppelin‘s “Ten Years Gone”—performed by trombonist Michael Dease, pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Peter Brendler, and drummer Rudy Royston. Tallitsch’s music is easy to like; the melodies are strong and memorable, the rhythms are steady and energetic, and the solos are extrapolations, rather than drop-everything fits of improvisatory excess. The opening title track is built around a simple, clarion-call hook that sounds like something John Coltrane might have written in 1959. Dease sits this one out, leaving Tallitsch to sprint atop the road laid down by Brendler’s race-walking bass and Royston’s powerful, cracking drums. (His snare sound on this album alone makes it worth a listen or ten.) Hirahara drops chords into place like a bricklayer, before taking off on a lyrical, McCoy Tyner-esque solo. The leader’s soloing is disciplined but aggressive, staying in the tenor’s lower range to the point of almost sounding like a baritone at times. This eruptive opener is followed, though, by the patiently explored “Life On Mars,” on which barely any amendments are made to the melody. Dease’s trombone offers swelling tones in the background, where strings would be on a rock record, and Royston’s clattering drums are almost a lead instrument. This track is so hooky and strong, it almost seems designed for radio play. Three more originals follow: “Rubbernecker,” “Rain,” and “The Giving Tree.” In order, they are: another hard-bop swinger in the vein of “Ride,” with Dease again absent but Tallitsch and Hirahara going full-bore as Royston’s crisp snare goads everyone along; a swaying ballad that offers Brendler a solo spot, and finds the leader playing with his horn’s upper register, getting perilously close to soprano territory; and a strutting, almost Latin number on which the trombonist finally returns, but again, he’s only adding a harmonic voice, and doesn’t solo. The version of Led Zeppelin‘s “Ten Years Gone” that kicks off the album’s second half is less slavishly bound to the melody than the version of “Life On Mars” was. The band takes the simple, crashing blues chords as a framework for some impressive soloing, with Dease offering a countermelody behind Tallitsch that sound earwormingly reminiscent of the chorus to alternative rock act Marcy Playground‘s mid ’90s hit, “Sex and Candy.” The next piece up, “El Luchador,” is Brazilian in feel, despite its Mexican-referencing name (luchadors are masked Mexican wrestlers), and marks Dease’s first full-on trombone solo. It’s a highlight of the album—he’s fast and technical, pumping out crisply articulated bursts of notes rather than the smeary tones the trombone’s mostly known for, while maintaining a tight grip on the song’s melody and rhythm. “The Myth” is about as abstract and scribbly as Ride ever gets—on this track, the band moves away from the punchy, classicist-but-not-retro hard bop they’ve been exploring for most of the album, in favor of a more winding, complex melody line and a more expansive rhythmic approach that make me think of Woody Shaw. There’s something about this track that calls to mind acoustic jazz of the 1970s (though fortunately, we’re spared that bouncy rubber-band bass sound). Dease gets another solo on the somewhat woozy “Knuckle Dragger,” and he’s looser and bluesier, still unleashing flurries of crisply chosen notes at times but also going for long ribbonlike tones. “The Path” is another burner, and the album ends with “Turtle,” an atmospheric but swinging track that feels indebted to the adventurous Blue Note albums of 1963-64—Bobby Hutcherson‘s Dialogue, Andrew Hill‘sBlack Fire, Grachan Moncur III‘s Evolution, and the like. Dease is the lead player here, and his full, heartfelt tone, as well as his ability to ride a melody like a champion surfer (with Tallitsch right beside him), makes this a perfect closer to one of the most purely pleasurable jazz albums of 2014 so far.—Phil Freeman Buy Ride from Amazon download Ride from Amazon MP3
All About Jazz – Dan Bilawsky 3/4/14: Saxophonist Tom Tallitsch focuses on his own music on his second release on Posi-Tone and fifth date as a leader. He throws in David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” and Led Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone” for good measure, but the other nine tracks are all of his making. Tallitsch proves to be a commanding player throughout Ride, but it’s the sidemen that help to bring out the best in the music. Rock solid players like pianist Art Hirahara and bassistPeter Brendler help to keep things running smoothly, guest trombonist Michael Dease brings the heat, and Rudy Royston, the seemingly ubiquitous super drummer, adds some wattage to Tallitsch’s tunes. Royston’s in high spirits on the title track and he drives the hell out of a few other numbers. While the faster material always carries excitement with it, Tallitsch’s strongest pieces aren’t the burners. “Rain,” which Tallitsch accurately frames as “gospel country,” the Brazilian-tinged “El Luchador,” which gives Dease a chance to shine, and the bluesy “Knuckle Dragger” all leave more of a lasting impression on the ear.
Something Else Reviews – Victor Aaron 3/1/14: Two years after Heads of Tales , a searing date backed by Jared Gold, Mark Ferber and David Allen, tenor saxman Tom Tallitsch returns with another strong crew for Ride (March 4, Posi-Tone Records), in fact arguably even more so: Rudy Royston on drums, Art Hirahara on piano, Peter Brendler on bass and the phenomenal Michael Dease on trombone. The change-up in instrumentation does nothing to change Tallitsch’s mission of evangelizing the hard bop form through the bell of his saxophone. Ride swings and grooves with flawless proficiency by guys who aren’t just going through the motions. Tallitsch’s traditionally minded saxophone diction never forgets that soul is an important part of it, but so is forgetting a lick once it’s played, too. That’s why he can go a while on a solo as he does on “El Luchador” and keep it interesting all the way through. And he can swing like the old masters, amply demonstrated on cuts like “The Giving Tree.” Dease isn’t present on every track, but when he’s called in to help, he provides the perfect foil, and his solos on “El Luchador,” “Turtle” and especially “Knuckle Dragger” are fluid and full of character but in a graceful way. The rhythm section makes a lot of hay on the spicier numbers like “The Myth,” and Royston leaves behind a show stopping display on drums during his break on “Ride,” while Hirahara shines on “The Path.” Also during “The Path,” Brendler’s against-the-grain bass line offers up a funky counterpoint. During the last go-around Tallitsch adapted a song from a rock icon (Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”) into the jazz form the right way, by embracing the core melody. He does this again on Ride, putting his own stamp on David Bowie’s lofty gem “Life On Mars” and Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti deep cut, the splendidly downtrodden “Ten Years Gone.” On the former tune, Tallitsch’s sax takes on the vocal role, his sax accurately locating the emotional center of the song. For the Page/Plant song, he doubles with Dease to give it a late 60s Jazz Crusaders-type groove, but one that maintains the original’s serious tone. New personnel and backup instrumentation doesn’t matter; Ride is another sturdy, deft straight-ahead affair from Tom Tallitsch.
Emusic – Dave Sumner 2/5/14: Solid straight-ahead session from saxophonist Tallitich, on a quintet date that aptly displays his talent for well-constructed tunes. All originals, except for covers of David Bowie (Life on Mars) and Led Zep (“Ten Years Gone”). Dease on trombone shows his professionalism and why he’s in high demand. Same goes for drummer Royston who is really given the opportunity to build moments into deluges of rhythm. Track “The Myth” real shines bright.
Dusty Groove 1/31/14 The album’s a heck of a great ride with tenorist Tom Tallitsch – a player who’s stepped in traditional tones and phrasing, but who can also push things forward with his own personal agenda as well! Tallitsch has a really old school depth to his instrument – a quality that reminds us a bit of Eric Alexander at his best, as does the flowing sense of rhythm the album gets from Art Hirahara on piano, Peter Brendler on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums – a rhythm trio that fits together very well and provides a rock-solid and soulful swing on the album’s best numbers. Michael Dease blows some tight trombone throughout too, and most tunes are originals – with titles that include “Ride”, “Rubbernecker”, “Rain”, “The Giving Tree”, “El Luchador”, and “Turtle” – but the album also features two surprising ballad remakes, of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” and Led Zepplin’s “Ten Years Gone”.
Jazz And Blues Blogspot 1/28/14 – Tim Niland Tom Tallitsch is a tenor saxophone player working on the modern mainstream scene, recording as a leader and a sideman regularly. He is accompanied by Art Hirahara on piano, Mike Dease on trombone, Peter Brendler on bazz and Rudy Royston on drums. “Ride” opens the album with a strong beginning that builds to a boiling tempo and fine saxophone solo and an exciting drum solo. The David Bowie song “Life on Mars” was a surprise, but a pleasant one as Tallitsch steps back and plays a nice lyrical performance. “Rubbernecker” ramps the music back up to quick modern jazz, fast and loose with escalating and cascading waves of notes and rippling piano, bass and drums interlude. Tallitsch and Dease harmonize during the beginning of “The Giving Tree” staying taught before the leader’s saxophone is able to break free with a well controlled solo underpinned by pulsating bass. It is a great solo with a waterfall of streaming sound. “The Myth” is a longer performance, opening calmly before worrying in some more nervous dynamics as the tempo of the performance increases and Tallitsch makes his solo faster and faster. Royston is excellent here developing rhythms that shift and change in an exciting manner. (March 4, 2014)
Midwest Jazz Record 1/28/14 POSI-TONE TOM TALLITSCH/Ride: As we sail deeper into the age of multi-tasking, do we even have to wonder if it’s a conflict of interest for a working muso to host a radio show? Like there isn’t bigger things to fret over. This sax man has got it all on the ball. Leading a hard hitting, swinging set, Tallitsch feels like a classic jazzbo but there’s no dust on him. Tallitsch does all the work for you just leaving you free to sit back and enjoy the jamming on this set of mostly originals where the band is completely on the same page and cooking with gas on high throughout. This is sure to get your blood moving better and faster than any blood thinner on the market. Dig it!
‘Heads Or Tales’ (4/17/12 Posi-Tone Records)
Jazz Chill Corner 8/29/12 – Lots of sharp changes here – deft tenor work from Tom Tallitsch, really cooking strongly alongside the Hammond of Jared Gold! Gold’s fast becoming one of our favorite contemporary players on his instrument – and for this sweet little set, he brings out a lot of Larry Young-like lines – arcing and curving with an angular feel that’s really great – and setting fire to Tom’s tenor nicely, as it runs alongside the organ with a Joe Henderson sort of vibe. Guitar is from Dave Allen, drums from Mark Ferber, and titles include “Tenderfoot”, “Coming Around”, “Double Shot”, “Flat Stanley”, “Travel Companion”, and “Dunes”. ~ Dusty Groove
The New York Jazz Record – July Edition – By Donald Elfman – On Heads or Tales, saxist Tom Tallitsch looks at the tenor-and-organ quartet format and, with the help of very simpatico musicians, finds new things to say. The sound of this type of group is now part of the standard jazz catalogue and it’s to Tallitsch’s great credit that he makes us feel both comforted and challenged. The tunes showcase the leader’s virile tenor, both as a solo vehicle and in lovely combination with his cohorts. On “Coming Around”, the album’s opener, the saxophone drops right in and wails a sinewy but defined theme that snakes and swings at a rapid clip. Tallitsch takes a nice, muscular chorus that smartly pulls at the edges of the head. The tale continues with guitarist Dave Allen digging into the changes and being both lyrical and angular. Next, it’s the organist’s turn and Jared Gold reminds us how terrific it is to have this instrument still in the game and making vital and pointed solo statements. Drummer Mark Ferber, who has pulsed his way over and under the other soloists, takes a brief but volcanic solo to lead us back to the quick restatement of the theme. One would think that this combination of instruments could sound somewhat monolithic, but the players care about colors and keep these themes fluid. “Dunes” is an airy tune, ballad-like but also dancing and forward-moving. Tallitsch, though his sound and tone is ‘hard’, finds a way to sing through his horn, working from top to bottom. A surprise closes this recording. It’s Neil Young’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down” and it’s a lovely, emotional jazz ballad that’s both invested in the original tune and making it breathe differently. Tallitsch is in charge here and his saxophone lushly delivers the melody with subtle underpinnings in segments from the others. The track is just a little longer than three minutes, but Tallitsch takes a fully realized solo and then takes the tune out in a sort of cadenza that riffs on at first but then quietly ends a cappella. It’s a lovely way to bring to a close these very musical proceedings. For more information, visit posi-tone.com. Tallitsch is at Bar Next Door Jul. 14th and The Garage Jul. 26th.
All About Jazz 6/7/12 By Bruce Lindsay– 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. Track Listing: Coming Around; Tenderfoot; Double Shot; Perry’s Place; Flat Stanley; Travel Companion; The Lummox; Dunes; Don’t Let It Bring You Down. Personnel: Tom Tallitsch: tenor saxophone; Dave Allen: guitar; Jared Gold: organ; Mark Ferber: drums. Record Label: Posi-Tone Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream
Jazz Wrap 6/2/12 By Stephan Moore 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.
Lucid Culture 5/19/12 By Keith Delarue “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
Ottawa Citizen – Vital Organs – Peter Hum 5/29/12 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 Shot dovetail 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.
Interview On North Country Public Radio’s (NCPU Upstate NY) The Bridge – Hosted By Joel Hurd. Air Date 5/5/12 – Tenor Saxophonist Tom Tallitsch’s new CD, Heads Or Tales, blends classic sounds with contemporary compositions (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. Launch in player Download audio
Step Tempest 5/2/12 Review By Richard B. Kamins – 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
All About Jazz 5/1/12 Review By Dan Bilawsky – Jazz musicians are often lauded for how different they are from one another, but all of the most notable musicians who wear the jazz label actually have one thing in common: expertise in telling a story. When theory, technique and stylistic divisiveness are all removed from the equation, musicians are left with the not-so-simple task of creating aural narratives worth following, and plenty of them can be found on Heads Or Tales. Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch put together a program of original music that’s chock full of intriguing melodies and strong solo statements, highlighting his abilities as player, composer and sax-wielding storyteller. He zigzag’s his way through fast passages like an expert race car driver, delivers soothing streams of sound, and brings intensity and suspense into the picture. His tenor saxophone voice is neither too bright nor too dark, and his well-balanced sound draws attention at every turn. Tallitsch, appropriately enough, went with a foursome for his fourth outing as a leader, and each musician brings something different to the date. Drummer Mark Ferber is in the driver’s seat for the majority of the program, acting as an accelerant (“Coming Around”), groove-maker (“Flat Stanley”), stylistic gear shifter (“Double Shot”), and suggestive painter. Organist and label mateJared Gold is the ultimate colorist and sound sculptor, delivering brilliant musical non sequiturs, liquid lines and engaging solo statements. He’s a tonal chameleon who’s capable of altering his sound at will, and that skill serves the music well. Guitarist Dave Allen‘s personality is often overshadowed when the ensemble is moving along at full steam together, but as a soloist, he proves to be a nimble-fingered wonder. Clarity is clearly a priority for Allen, whose lines are always clean and bright. While the first eight tracks on the album highlight Tallitsch’s writing, he takes on the role of interpreter for an album-ending trip through Neil Young‘s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.” Plenty of musicians might have felt the need to dress this song up in complicated clothing, but Tallitsch keeps things simple, further demonstrating a firm understanding of the art of expression and communication that exists at the very core of this music. Track Listing: Coming Around; Tenderfoot; Double Shot; Perry’s Place; Flat Stanley; Travel Companion; The Lummox; Dunes; Don’t Let It Bring You Down. Personnel: Tom Tallitsch: tenor saxophone; Dave Allen: guitar; Jared Gold: organ; Mark Ferber: drums
eMusic 4/26/12 Feature & Review By Britt Robson – 5 Stars – Saxophonist Tom Tallitsch leads a quartet that includes organ, guitar and drums, a lineup that conjures the expectation of a grooving, soul-jazz-blues amalgam along the lines of Hank Crawford, Jimmy McGriff and Jimmy Ponder. But Tallitsch is a post-bopper at heart, who plays tenor with the pivoting angularity of Joe Henderson. He is also a fine composer, interested in creating interactions that are more harmonically sophisticated and melodically pliable than the groovy tropes of organ-laden “soul jazz.” Head or Tales benefits from the mating of these virtues. The absence of a bassist puts some air beneath the ensemble, in part because organist Jared Gold, a mainstay on Posi-Tone label recordings, plays with admirable restraint while fleshing out the rhythm. He has abundant chops, as his hop-scotching solo on “Flat Stanley” demonstrates, but is less inclined than most of his peers to spray-paint songs with colorful blasts of sustained notes from his instrument. Guitarist Dave Allen is likewise attuned to texture — listen to the way he underscores Tallitsch on their unison passages during “Double Shot.” The band really brings it together on “Dunes,” a mid-tempo ballad that lives up to its title with subtle, shifting details inside a seemingly implacable framework. “Perry’s Place” is another worthy, contemplative, ballad, although the quartet is not averse to toe-tapping, as the lead tracks “Coming Around” and “Tenderfoot” demonstrate. In fact Tallitsch’s songs are strong enough that his lone cover — Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” a curiously mordant selection — might be the clunker in the bunch. Tallitsch is a longtime music educator, both for ambitious students and those who find music to be therapy for their disability. Although this is at least his fourth outing as a leader, it’s heartening to hear him in such a supportive environment for his skills, and that he uses the occasion to subvert the organ-jazz template for his more idiosyncratic skill
Music And More (Jazz & Blues Blogspot) 5/10/12 By Tim Niland – 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.
Midwest Record 4/7/12 Review By Chris Spector – Not only a jazzbo but a bleeding heart liberal as well since he uses music to cut through autism at his variousschool 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.
Something Else Reviews (Half Notes) 4/16/12 Review By S. Victor Aaron – Saxophonist, composer, musical educator, and radio show host Tom Tallitsch keeps busy wearing a variety of hats all revolving around his love of music and the love of sharing his knowledge about it to others. Every couple of years since 2005, he’s been sharing music by making a record, and this week he does so again for the forth time with the issuance of his latest album, Heads Or Tales. His first with Posi-Tone Records, Tallitsch taps into the talents of Posi-Tone stalwarts Mark Ferber (drums) and Jared Gold (organ), as well as up and coming swing specialist Dave Allen (guitar). Don’t be fooled by the line-up, this isn’t a Jimmy Smith/Stanley Turrentine type greasy soul-jazz record; Tallitsch leads this quartet through his eight originals and one cover in a hard bop and advanced bop state of mind, and Gold is the right organist to bring in for such a session. Tunes like “Coming Around” (live video below) and “Double Shot” are uptempo burners that bring out the fire of the participants, while “Perry’s Place” is the best among the gentle numbers, a good spot for Tallitsch’s sensitive Henderson/Shorter sax dialect to express itself. Tallitsch also turns Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” from a downbeat folk tune to a blues-inflected nocturnal ballad while keeping with the solemn mood of Young’s intent.
‘Perspective’ (11/17/09 Origin/OA2) Press/Reviews
Origin/OA2 Town Hall Catalog – “With vivid musical imagery and a dynamic group interplay, Tallitsch’s Philadelphia-based band winds through a set of his original compositions. From the relaxed opening lines of “Swirl” to the uptempo “Red Giant,” Perspective documents an articulate and cohesive band, including Victor Baker on guitar, John Stenger on piano, bassist Paul Gehman, and drummer Justin Leigh”
Jazzreview.Com 06/10 By Thomas R. Erdmann – “Cleveland, Ohio native Tom Tallitsch currently lives in Hamilton, NJ. A saxophonist, clarinetist, flutist, composer and jazz radio host, 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, and was a member of the artist faculty at Mercer County Community College from 1999-2006. Previous teaching positions include The Westminster Conservatory, the Philadelphia Clef Club, the Creative Music Studios and The Groove Academy. Tallitsch is the organizer of the non-profit arts organization “Living Arts Outreach, Inc.” This recording features Tallitsch working with Philadelphia area artists including John Stenger on piano, guitarist Victor Baker, bassist Paul Gehman and Justin Leigh on drums. All eight tracks were composed by Tallitsch. As a composer Tallitsch’s compositions grow and slowly evolve rather than take the more traditional head-solo-head arrangement. This is more a reflection of the intuitive leanings of the ensemble as a whole than any outside construed influence. Leigh’s brilliant drum work drives each of the tracks forward on to new vistas, but in different ways. Sometimes he allows things to grow organically, as on “Swirl,” and sometimes he’s more in the front,” as on “Conscious Contact.” What he never is, however, is uninvolved. Intuitively tied into the musicians around him, his brilliant technique is a wonderful foil to the long lines Tallitsch has a tendency to unfurl. As a saxophonist Tallitsch is all about building solos, taking the listener on a journey. An obvious student of the jazz art form, Tallitsch knows how to take the harmonic possibilities his compositions include and craft soloistic lines that move forward towards greater and greater emotional highs. With such an incredibly empathetic group of musicians around him, the results are almost always wonderful. The accompanying ensemble makes the most of Tallitsch’s music. Stenger’s piano, many times call upon to play swirling and quickly repeated ostinato-ish figurations, as on “Propellerhead” and “Red Giant,” among others, is sensitive almost to a fault. Careful to remain an accompanist, his comping choices sometimes lack a bit of bite, but you can’t fault his abilities as his solos throughout the disc are exquisite. Gehman’s bass work reacts more than connects, but there is so much introspective playing going on around him you can’t fault him. In the growing canon of recorded work by Tallitsch Perspectiveoffers another fine example of the work by this continually growing and developing artist.”
JazzTimes Magazine 05/10 By Bill Milkowski –“Philadelphia-based saxophonist-composer Tom Tallitsch enlists like-minded Philly comrades on his third outing as a leader. Tallitsch blends nicely with guitarist Victor Baker throughout, particularly on the delicate and contemplative opener “Swirl” (reminiscent of Wayne Shorter’s “Fall”) and the pensive ballad “Propellerhead.” They take things up a notch on the highly charged “Red Giant,” which features Baker stretching on a fluid, warm-toned solo, and turn in their most affecting performance on “Dark Before the Dawn.” Stellar pianist John Stenger is also prominently featured on the swinging closer, “In a Whirl..”
JazzTimes Magazine 11/25/09 – “Sleeper CD of the Week: Tom Tallitsch’s Perspective on OA2. Great sounding post-bop session from the Philadelphia-based saxophonist.”
All Music Guide (AMG) – By Adam Greenberg – An “Interesting set of original compositions from frontman Tallitsch, Perspective takes some time giving the full ensemble room to stretch out with long, flowing pieces galore. The album opens with “Swirl,” using the full ensemble to signal movements in tone while letting pianist John Stenger twinkle throughout. In “Conscious Contact,” the pace quickens a bit and the band begins to separate for bits of collective improvisation, but the key figures remain Tallitsch and Stenger soloing and comping back and forth ably — this is one of the best chances on the album to hear Tallitsch’s sensitivity to the music as he alternates quick, strong passages with more tender cuts. “Propellerhead” provides an outstanding solo from Stenger, “Red Giant” builds into a tight groove after a bit of buildup, and “Slippery Rock” eventually builds into a casual groove of sorts. “Tall Order” gives guitaristVictor Baker a chance to lay out a quiet, casual solo at length, and “Dark Before the Dawn” makes a nice interlude of sorts before the finale. “In a Whirl” provides a little bit of modality, a little bit of Miles‘ classic sounds, and a constantly roving piano-and-sax combination that enlivens the proceedings just enough to close out the album with some energy. The show tends to focus specifically on Tallitsch and Stenger, but the album and the performances (all around) are entirely solid.”
Jazz Society Of Oregon – Kyle O’Brien – ” Tallitsch is a Philadelphia-based saxophonist with a sound that shows both restraint and passion. His tunes are modern jazz through and through, not adhering to genre or style in any significant fashion. The tune “Conscious Contact” is an introspective minor melody that lets Tallitsch’s soprano speak in cohesion with his group. Piano, guitar, bass, drums and reeds build to a crescendo, and Tallitsch doesn’t let loose until the tune is good and ready to speak up. His use of dynamics and his restraint make his songs come alive. Some swirl and eddy, as on the circular “Propellerhead,” while others bubble under, like “Red Giant.” His tone is emotive and his compositions allow him to take us on short musical journeys with his more than able band. Here’s a guy to watch in the future.
2009, OA2 Records, 60 minutes.
‘Medicine Man’ (2/08 Origin/OA2 Records) Press/Reviews
Origin/OA2 Records & City Hall Records Catalog (‘Medicine Man’ – Released 2/08) – “A mainstay in Philadelphia jazz clubs for over a decade, composer and tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch presents the first recording of his quintet – a forward looking yet mainstream grouping of some of Philly’s finest musicians. Performing articulate, modern jazz, Tallitsch’s band explores alternate sonorities with its vibes and guitar led rhythm section, slightly reminiscent of Gary Burton’s groups of the ’70s. With Tony Miceli (vibraphone), Victor Baker (guitar), Paul Gehman (bass) and Dan Monaghan (drums).”
JazzTimes July/Aug 2008 Forrest Dylan Bryant “Expanding from a duo setting to a quintet for his sophomore CD release, Tom Tallitsch offers up pleasant, unassuming original compositions that keep the proceedings casual but agreeably propulsive. With Tony Miceli’s brisk vibraphone and Victor Baker’s uncluttered guitar supporting his throaty tenor saxophone tone, Tallitsch’s band frequently takes on an airy, levitating quality. But there’s a surging intensity at work too, as crosshatched layers create a complex, filigreed sound against the leader’s undulating solo threads. “
Philadelphia Enquirer Karl Stark 3/9/08 ” After 12 years in Philly, tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch can meet the demands for what a tenor should sound like…” Read More
AllAboutJazz John Barron 2/19/08 “…WithMedicine Man Tallitsch demonstrates his potential to stand above the innumerable tenor saxophone sound-a-likes plaguing the jazz scene. With the aid of his like-minded musical brothers, he has produced a clever, stimulating session.”
Tom Hull – Jazz Consumer Guide for The Village Voice NY 3/3/08 “… The band generates a lot of forward momentum, which serves the saxophonist well. Mainstream sax, straightforward, solid. B+(*)” Read More
eJazzNews – 1/26/08 John Gilbert “…It is apparent that these musicians are of the highest quality in the message they are presenting. 4 Stars “
All Music Guide – Adam Greenberg 3/3/08 – “A nice sophomore set from Philadelphia area saxman Tom Tallitsch, Medicine Man casually grooves its way through a series of original compositions while making full use of the accompanying band. Indeed, Tallitsch is heard less than one might expect on an album that he leads. Not that he’s absent in any way from the proceedings, but this is definitely an ensemble album, not a solo project. The opening title track starts out the affair with a fairly quick number with hints of Coltrane‘s compositions worked in. The mood mellows out a bit by the second number, but also gives vibes player Tony Miceliand guitarist Victor Baker a nice place to exhibit their respective skills. “Little Dancers,” the first of two numbers from Baker, has a slight Latin mood that carries the band through fairly quickly, and “Three Flights Down,” after starting out with a nice bass solo, moves into an urban nightclub sort of sound. The pace diminishes notably (and appropriately) on “La Tortuga,” a loping, plodding number with Tallitsch at the fore, and speeds back up to a slightly frenzied urban format in “Ceasefire.” Another round of excellent solos in “Good Friday,” and the album ends much where it started, with an exploration into the motives of “Three Flights Down” once again. A solid contemporary jazz album throughout — not too many stratospheric thrills, but no disappointments whatsoever.”
Duality (11/05 Self-Released) Press/Reviews
Cadence Magazine – Jim Santella October 2006 Page.123 “Tenor saxophone and guitar: the blend comes with built-in spaces and a wide tonal range that centers on melody. The duo of Tom Tallitsch and Dave Manley ensures that each interpretation contains warmth, reflective asides, and a gentle attack…” Read More
eJazzNews 4 Stars 1/25/06 John Gilbert “An intimate mood is set by this combination of tenor Sax and guitar and it works nicely…”Read More
Jazzreview.com / eJazzNews.com – Keith ‘MuzikMan’ Hannaleck 12/13/05 “Tom Tallitsch keeps things on an even keel and uncomplicated with his new CD Duality. The only instruments that you hear on the entire recording are the tenor saxophone of Tallitsch and the acoustic guitar of Dave Manley. Thus, the title Duality sums up what this album is.”Read More
FLY Magazine — Wyl Menmuir 2/26/06 “More Please…” Read More
The Muse’s Muse 1/28/06 – Chip Woothrow “Duality has become one of my most listened-to discs…” Read More
Aural Fix Magazine Geoffrey Armes 2/06 “A first release from the New Jersey based saxophonist this one, it documents his duo work with guitarist Dave Manley via a collection of eight (mostly Tallitsch penned) tunes. Unlike some other tenors, Tallitsch is in search of sweet melodic adventure. Flurried riffing and hyperbolic rants run under the guise of ‘passion’ are firmly rejected in favour of seeking a natural confluence with the probing harmonies that well from the fretboard of Manley’s guitar. Their sound is breathy and intimate, clearly this duo have played together.., a lot. Never predictable, but always organised and logical, you won’t frighten your mother by putting this on at dinner time, neither will your younger siblings oh so hipper than thou friends sneer and jeer. Listen and order at http://www.tomtallitsch.com. Tom, this is great, intimate playing, you evoke the best qualities of chamber jazz with your high standard of musicianship and committed blowing.”
Rick VanMatre 1/06 University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) – Professor and Director of Jazz Studies – Saxophone “A truly unique tenor sound and phrasing… fresh ideas and great tunes.”
PhillyJazz.Org 12/05 “Saxman Tallitsch and Guitarist Dave Manley show what you can do with only two”.
Hamilton Post Article On Tom In The October 2010 Issue
Downbeat Magazine Article On Tom Tallitsch In The July 2010 Issue.