Mosaic Select: Charles Tolliver Big Band (MS-037)

Mosaic Select


Mosaic Select: Charles Tolliver Big Band (MS-037)

The Charles Tolliver Big Band, resurrected some five years ago, put his extraordinary orchestral writing back in the spotlight. And from the release of his comeback album “With Love,” it was always our intention to eventually bring back the two classic Strata-East albums that started it all in the ‘70s. When Charles called us with the discovery of a 1979 NDR radio concert from 1979 that would bring the set to 3 CDs, we knew a Mosaic Select was mandatory.
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies

3 CDs -  $44.00


"Rarely if ever has a big band exhibited so much freedom or finesse, while at the same time never overwhelming the virtuoso soloists on whom the performances pivot." - Jason Ankemy,

The Charles Tolliver Big Band has come to be known for its intricate, layered writing, charging rhythms and exciting soloists. The band's roots trace back to 1970 when Tolliver recorded "Music Inc. & Big Band" for his Strata-East label. He and Stanley Cowell were the composers and principal soloists for this ground-breaking album, which represented the new approach to big band writing since the emergence of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra five years earlier.

Their second album "Impact" expanded the big band's sound with eight strings on several tunes. James Spaulding, Charles McPherson and George Coleman join Tolliver and Cowell as soloists.

From these, it was thought that the trail ran cold for this band until the mid 2000s. But in preparation for this reissue, Charles ran across a tape of a big band workshop/broadcast that he did in 1979 with NDR Big Band in Hamburg, Germany. He secured the rights and the master tape and is released for the first time in this set.

In recent year, the band has reformed and returned with a vengeance, touring and recording for Blue Note (2007) and Half Note (2009). Its legacy begins with this Mosaic Select.

Read More About Charles Tolliver:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »


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  Great Big Band Music From The 1970s
If you are a fan of Charles Tolliver or just a lover of big band music. you really need to hear this collection. Great solos along with the interaction with his fellow band members. Speaking of the band, just check out the line-up of players he was able to get for these sessions. There is also a very interesting interview with Mr. Tolliver included with the liner notes. Grab this collection before it is gone.
The other Tolliver Select is one of my favourites of the 13 or so Selects I own. While I understand the necessities of economics that force Mosaic to put parts of separate albums on one CD, I must say I enjoy that in this case each CD is a complete album and only that album. I disagree with the other guy. I often find it jarring when the last few tracks on a Mosaic are from a different recording session because often the tone or even the quality is very much different. Also, criticizing something because theres not enough music on the CD is too comsumerist for my taste. This is art! Tolliverr was one of the greats and I love how he kept jazz alive. Thank you Mosaic.
  What is Mosaic doing?
There is Approx. 142 minutes of music on this set. It could have easily fit on 2 CDs. I noticed that the upcoming Clifford Jordan set has this problem as well. Do the people at Mosaic think their customers are stupid? Please, raise your prices, but don't insult our intelligence.
  Finally! I salute Mosaic for putting this together.
I'm a big fan. I had the pleasure of listening to Tolliver and his band last year in NYC -- inTimes Square at Les Paul's club. Like the earlier reviewer, please find the time and/or resources to compile the small group material.
  Great Stuff - Now Please Finish What You Started!
I agree totally with the previous reviewer. Excellent reissue especially the Impact album on disc two. Plight has always been one of my favorite Tolliver compositions. I really hope that one day soon his small group recordings (Paper Man, Grand Max, Compassion, Live In Berlin, etc) will get the Mosaic treatment. Thank you for keeping the music alive!
  Excellent Collection of Rare Material from Peak '70's Years
I've been trying to find the Strata East albums for years and I was delighted to find that Mosaic had not only reissued them but also included a previously unknown recording made in Germany in 1979. Excellent sound and presentation. This is cause for celebration for Charles Tolliver fans everywhere!

Mosaic Select: Charles Tolliver Big Band (MS-037)
Mosaic Select: Charles Tolliver Big Band (MS-037)
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies
3 CDs - $44.00

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