This was Charles Tolliver’s first album as a leader. The setting is unique only because his second Freedom-Black Lion album “The Ringer” and all of his subsequent albums on Strata-East featured his quartet Music Inc. with pianist Stanley Cowell. Here he is surrounded in quartet and quintet formats with a truly stellar cast of the leading players on the New York jazz scene.
Charles plays the role of leader, composer and trumpeter. But it is surely that last role that deserves the most attention. The trumpet is a brass instrument that leans toward a hard sound and staccato phrasing. Yet Tolliver is the quintessence of fluidity. While it may be undeniable that he has learned from his musical heritage and past trumpet masters, a trumpeter of such flow, tone, control, lyricism and creativity is, by definition, a major musician.