Thursday, March 22, 2007

Charles Tolliver - With Love

My review went up on Citizen Jazz last Monday. It's a steam-roller big band (the phrase "Victor Lewis's punching ball" makes an appearance), which is ultimately tiring: beautiful intimate moments like the wind choir on "Mournin' Variations" get razed, the trumpet-piano dialogue section of "'Round Midnight" gives way to a fast, pounding arrangement that Francis Davis calls "novel" but that I call absurd.

I generally enjoy Tolliver's solos: whether slow or fast, he always sounds like he's on knife's edge. Robert Glasper shows that he isn't always as sleepy as he is on Canvas. Ched Tolliver's guitar solo is a favourite moment: he hangs back and builds an understated in a refreshing way. And, generally speaking, a fair amount of excitement and activity is generated, even if it's not exactly inspiring.

Since Cecil McBee is in involved, I can't resist reminding you of the greatest assessment of a jazz musician ever pronounced:

"Cecil McBee is cool, cute and sophisticated," [Saori Horikiri, a 17-year-old high-school student from just outside Tokyo] said, wearing a pink sweater with "Cecil McBee" across the chest.