Born: May 3, 1974
Tom Tallitsch is a Saxophonist, Composer, Recording Artist, Music Educator, and Host of ‘The Modern Jazz Radio Show’.
Tom is a NY Saxophonist, composer, recording artist, and music educator. He performs at jazz clubs and other venues throughout NYC and regularly performs at venues up and down the east coast, and tours throughout the United States.
His critically acclaimed fifth album RIDE was released 2/4/14 on Posi-Tone Records, and is receiving national and international airplay on Jazz radio stations. It features his own compositions with Art Hirahara (Piano), Michael Dease, (Trombone), Peter Brendler (Bass), and Rudy Royston (Drums)....
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.
CriticalJazz.com Interview With Brent Black 2/4/14 Posi-Tone recording artist Tom Tallitsch has just dropped a stellar new release, Ride… This isn’t Tom’s first rodeo as he has been putting out consistently high quality music for roughly a decade. I have been fortunate enough to get to know Tom and we were able to hook up thanks to modern technology to discuss the new record. B.B. – I asked Tom to tell us about Ride. We also discussed the more open ended sound and how this may have developed. T.T. – I wrote every song on the album with the intention of creating a vehicle for the band to groove and solo on, while trying to give the listener a strong set of melodies and forms to latch onto. Most of the songs were written with a quartet in mind before the lineup was chosen. I’ve played a ton with bassist Peter Brendler and pianist Art Hirahara, so they were no brainers. Rudy is one of the greatest drummers that I have ever heard, and at the time I was listening to a lot of JD Allen’s trio records. Rudy just made that band perfect. Once all of the songs came together, I really started to hear trombone harmonies in 4th and 5ths. Mike Dease has such a warm and beautiful tone that I could hear on the album, and I am so glad he is on it. B.B. – In my review I remarked about the warm and open sound only to have Tom confirm the following day that my ear was still there as this was essentially a live studio release. I asked him to explain the pressure involved in that type of recording. T.T. – The original recording date was 10/29/12, the Monday that Hurricane Sandy hit NYC. We had a rehearsal 2 days prior, and we were all really amped up to record. When we realized the storm was going to be no joke, I cancelled the session and the Posi-Tone guys jumped on a last minute plane out of NY. After the dust settled, we decided to try it again the day after the Super Bowl 4 months late in February 2013. Once the session finally happened, I think we were all relieved. The flood gates opened and we just played. The energy was huge, and I feel that we left it all on the tape. It was a good day. B.B. Some killer covers were banged out on this session, “Ten Years Gone” from Zeppelin and David Bowie’s “Life On Mars.” I asked Tom to explain how these tunes came to be. T.T. – I love trying cover tunes. I grew up on a cocktail of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Beatles etc., and then on the flip side Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson. It is really a big challenge to arrange covers without them sounding square. With David Bowie’s Life On Mars, the melody and chord progressions are strong and memorable, and did not require arranging or alterations. Sometimes the most beautiful performances an be created by just stating the melody. The groove, chord progression, and transitions from verse to chorus in the original recording of Led Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone” created almost limitless ideas for me as an arranger. The version you hear on Ride is the final product of several arrangement that I originally brought to the band to try. B.B. Having touched on the band members, I asked Tom how hard it is to keep a band together. T.T. – It is really hard to keep a band together, especially when cats like Rudy, Art, and Mike are traveling around all the time. It’s all about booking dates. If the good performances are there for the guys to play, hopefully they will be there. B.B. Tom’s label is Posi-Tone, a label known as artist friendly and with the old school commitment to artistic development. I asked to about the importance of working in this environment. T.T. – I love Posi-Tone Records, and am sincerely grateful for the creative guidance and friendship that I have received from those guys. We are able to speak openly and without baggage about what is working and what isn’t. I am looking at recording again for Posi-Tone this spring. I have a book of new and older compositions that I would like to get out. I could tell you more about the band, but that would be letting the cat out of the band right? B.B. I want to thank Tom and of course Posi-Tone for their help and support for this interview and other projects as well. Ride is easily one of the best for 2014!
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! 8118
Critical Jazz 1/22/14 – Brent Black Tom Tallitsch shows exponential growth both as a performer and a composer and is certainly a name to remember!Ride is the sophomore release from Tom Tallitsch on Posi-Tone Records. The stellar cover art is an excellent representation of a release that is evocative, energized and delightfully eclectic. This quintet is firing on all cylinders with all star drummer Rudy Royston keeping everyone on the rhythmic straight and narrow with pianist Art Hirahara and bassist Peter Brendler rounding out a formidable rhythm section that shift dynamics on the fly providing a solid base from which Tallitsch can work. Joining Tom is all star trombonist Michael Dease and the artful manipulation of swing has Ride carefully walking that fine line between the typical cerebral/visceral releases that dot the straight ahead landscape. Covers… These can be the equivalent of tap dancing in a melodic minefield and taking on tunes from David Bowie and Led Zeppelin are certainly not done without some natural trepidation. Bowie’s “Life On Mars” is dialed down to an exquisite ballad while the reharm of the iconic Zeppelin standard “Ten Years Gone” puts a fresh coat of paint on an album rock classic long assumed hiding out in the rock and roll witness program by many. From the opening swing of “Ride” to the slightly odd metered gem ” Rubbernecker” the tone is open, warm and above all relaxed. While Ride is a release with subtle nuances hidden within a lyrical sense of purpose and a textured rhythmic sense of drive. There is not an ounce of pretentious pyrotechnics to be found and perhaps it is this inner confidence that translates a relaxed virtually live feeling to this recording. Michael Dease provides the counterpoint that makes tunes like “Knuckle Dragger” and “Turtle” somewhat reminiscent of Wayne Shorter’s early Blue Note work yet Tom Tallitsch is doing a riff on no one but himself.I once made the statement that Posi-Tone may carry the best stable of saxophonists working the straight ahead side of the street and Tom Tallitsch more than proves this point. __________________________________
‘Heads Or Tales’ (4/17/12 Posi-Tone Records) Press / Reviews
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.
Philadelphia Inquirer – Karl Stark 5/27/12 Organ jazz, which has deep roots in Philly, often veers close to R&B or hard bop. Tenor saxophonist Tom Tallitsch, a Cleveland native who has taught at the Philadelphia Clef Club, takes organ jazz in a cool modernist direction, making this quartet session smart and dark. Tallitsch, a jazz radio host on Mercer County Community College’s WWFM HD2, also runs a music-tutoring business in Princeton. Intimations of organ jazz’s soul roots emerge on “Tenderfoot,” but that becomes context for deeper explorations, fueled by drummer Mark Ferber. The set of originals often crackles with unexpected combustion. Organist Jared Gold creates some edgy effects on “Double Shot,” while guitarist Dave Allen plumbs a more cosmic mode on the smoky ballad “Perry’s Place.” Tallitsch & Co. sometimes play with sounds. The organ effects on “Dunes” feel like the Shore
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. Stream audio (broadband). Launch in player Download audio (dial-up). Right-click to save target as. 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
@Critical Jazz 4/3/12 Review By Brent Black – Easily one of the better 4tets you may not be familiar with just yet…Tone, technique and phrasing as a tenor player all catch my ear :30 seconds into “Coming Around” and Tallitsch pulls off the musical hat trick hitting all his marks with precision, finesse and a deceptively intriguing swing that guitarist Dave Allen seems to pick up almost immediately. Rounding out a top flight rhythm section you have organ phenom Jared Gold and highly acclaimed drummer Mark Ferber. This is hard bop that moves with lyrical intensity, a melodic sense of purpose. As the release progress so does the harmonic development and the ability to shift dynamics on the fly all while working without a musical net. “Double Shot” is a deceptively simple tune with punctuated swing adding depth and texture to a release that is seemingly built around musical character Allen’s clean single note runs on guitar and generously comped by Gold with Ferber’s subtle nuance behind the kit acting as the sonic glue binding this most formidable ensemble together. Tallitsch is a gifted lyrical player that while pushing the occasional envelope knows when to real it in and when to push forward with a swing not for the faint of heart. The title “Flat Stanley” alone should pick up high marks for creativity but a captivating organic pulse begins to develop within this tune. Dave Allen works hand in glove with Tallitsch in a role more closely associated as a co-leader but if a chain is truly as strong as its weakest link then there are indeed no weak links here. Gold’s solo on Flat Stanley helps to firmly establish himself as one of the better B3 voices to hit the scene in years. In what could easily be described as an all- star line up, Tallitsch absolutely works on point ever step of the way. A nice warm tone, accessible but a master technician when it comes to technique and artistic phrasing that would allow him to hold his own on any bandstand. Tom Tallitsch and Heads Or Tales is an absolute winner!
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 Records & City Hall Records Catalog (‘Perspective’ – Release Date 11/17/09) - “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.” Read More
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 ” Read More
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”.
Heads Or TalesPosi-Tone Records
Medicine ManOA2 Records
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Saxophone - Clarinet - Flute - Piano - Jazz Improvisation - Clinician With over 15 years of individual and classroom teaching experience, and as a graduate of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (CCM) in Jazz Studies, Tom offers an inspired approach to childhood-adult musical instruction. His highly recommended music tutoring business is based in Mercer County New Jersey, and instructs motivated students in Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Piano, and Jazz Improvisation/Composition. Tom is an experienced high school and college clinician, and has been an artist faculty member at Mercer County College since 1999. Tom is also active in tutoring adult students with Autism through the adult program at the Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI). In 2004 he organized the Central New Jersey Homeschool Bands, which provides home-schooled students the opportunity to rehearse and perform in an interactive musical environment. Tom has been an educator or clinician at these following schools and institutions: Mercer County College - Jazz Saxophone and Woodwinds Central NJ Homeschool Bands - (founding director) Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI) - Piano Westminster Conservatory - Saxophone and Clarinet Creative Music Studios - Saxophone, Woodwinds, Piano NJMTA Concerto Adjudicator - Saxophone Philadelphia Clef Club for the Performing Arts - Saxophone The Groove Academy - Saxophone The Lawrenceville School - Guest Jazz Artist and Clinician Bay Village High School - Guest Jazz Artist and Clinician The Pennington School - Guest Jazz Lecturer