Thursday, May 25, 2017

Charles Tolliver / Music Inc. - 1973 - Live At The Loosdrecht Festival

Charles Tolliver / Music Inc.
Live At The Loosdrecht Festival

01. Grand Max 11:06
02. Truth 10:13
03. Prayer For Peace 15:08
04. Our Second Father 15:57
05. Repetition 12:37

Bass – Reggie Workman
Drums – Alvin Queen
Piano – John Hicks
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Producer – Charles Tolliver

Recorded at the Loosdrecht Jazz Festival, Holland (The Netherlands), 9th August 1972 by courtesy of Joop de Roo, N.O.S. Radio, Hilversum.

This concert opens with an eerie 11 minute blitzkrieg.  The savvy European audience isn't afraid though.  "Grand Max" is a tribute to Tolliver's former boss, drumming kingpin Max Roach.  It reminds me somewhat of The Max Roach Trio - Featuring The Legendary Hasaan except at break-neck speed and lead by a trumpet.  Drummer Alvin Green walks a fine line between the styles of Max Roach and Elvin Jones.  It's quite interesting to hear. 

Somehow "Truth" made me think of The Blade Runner for the first few minutes.  Charles Tolliver has nice vibrato in his somber playing.  I can picture a washed-up old cop walking in the rain to this song but the middle third of the song ruins the mood completely. 

I read the title for the third piece and knew there was a good chance I would be in for some typical "spiritual" Jazz with jingling noise.  The jingling is there alright.  It engulfs a pounding bass solo by Reggie Workman for three minutes and then Charles Tolliver joins in on the action.  "Prayer For Peace" becomes something along the lines of an energy charged Joe Henderson tune like "El Barrio" from Inner Urge.  Tolliver certainly uses some of Henderson's tenor sax phrasing. 

For 16 minutes Tolliver's quartet tries to emulate John Coltrane's Elvin Jones/McCoy Tyner/Jimmy Garrisson quartet in tribute to the recently deceased Coltrane.  The only person who seems to be having trouble in their counterpart's role is pianist John Hicks.  The sweat must have been coming out of every pore of his body trying to match Tyner's inhumanly flowing fingers.  As Coltrane's group did too, Tolliver gets into Rock 'n Roll boisterousness.  If you own a copy of Coltrane Live at Birdland and enjoy it you will assuredly love Grand Max. 

After that the last track is redundant, especially since it has little to do with the feel of the rest of the concert.  For simplicity sake consider it a mix of Horace Silver's and Lee Morgan's music.  It's happy.  It's long.  It doesn't fit.