Charles Tolliver Connect LP

Charles Tolliver

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TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal

New Album From Legendary Trumpeter On Vinyl LP!

TAS Rated 4.5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the March 2021 Issue of The Absolute Sound!

Jazz Trumpet legend, founder of the uber-cool Strata East label that spawned Gil Scott Heron, is back with Connect, his first studio album in 13 years.

Recorded to tape at RAK Studios in London last November (2019) by Tony Platt (The Bad Plus, Abdullah Ibrahim, Bob Marley), the four-track album features the Charles Tolliver All-Stars, comprising some of the most experienced jazz musicians of New York: Jesse Davis on alto saxophone, Keith Brown on piano, Buster Williams on double bass, and Lenny White on drums. The album also bridges together New York and London by featuring leading British saxophonist Binker Golding on two tracks, (Binker & Moses, Moses Boyd Exodus, Zara McFarlane.) Connect will be Charles' first release via London-based independent label Gearbox Records, who are responsible for recent releases by Abdullah Ibrahim, Binker & Moses, Butcher Brown and Theon Cross.

On recording with Gearbox, Charles said, "... with both of our collective recording label expertise a recording of my touring band could and would be done. I chose to CONNECT consummate artists whose performances represent absolutely 'THE' Real Deal in this Artform - Lenny White, Buster Williams, Jesse Davis, Keith Brown. The excellent artistry of Binker Golding was added for some tracks by Darrel (Gearbox founder.)"

Charles Tolliver, entirely self-taught, is a remarkable talent who has gained an outstanding reputation as a trumpetist, bandleader, composer, arranger, and educator. Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1942, his musical career began at the age of 8 when his beloved grandmother, Lela, presented him with his first instrument, a cornet, and the inspiration to learn.

After a few years of college majoring in pharmacy at Howard University, and formulating his trumpet style, Charles began his professional career with the saxophone giant Jackie Mclean. Making his recording debut with McLean on Blue Note Records in 1964, Charles has since recorded and/or performed with such renowned artists as Roy Haynes, Hank Mobley, Willie Bobo, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Booker Ervin, Gary Bartz, Herbie Hancock, The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Oliver Nelson, Andrew Hill, Louis Hayes, Roy Ayers, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, and Max Roach.

Charles Tolliver has been a recipient of the Downbeat Critic's Choice for the Trumpet category. In 1969 he formed the quartet Music Inc which has become internationally respected for its innovative trumpet quartet approach. Charles and his Music Inc, has toured in North and South America, Europe, Scandinavia, and Japan performing at festivals, concerts, radio and television stations. In 1970 he and his alter ego fellow musician artist Stanley Cowell created Strata-East Records which he has steadfastly kept alive straight into the present.

In recent times, Charles issued his 2007 album, Grammy-nominated big band recording With Love through Blue Note, whilst the Jazz Journalists Association presented him with the "Best Large Ensemble of the Year 2007" award for his new tour de force group, The Charles Tolliver Big Band. In 2009, he released a live big band album entitled Emperor March, recorded at the Blue Note in New York.

Cut on a Haeco Scully lathe with Westrex RA1700 series amps, Westrex 3DIIA cutting head and Telefunken U73B tube limiter; Decca valve equalisation; monitored on Audio Note equipment.

Now 78, he reemerges with his first small group session in decades. Joined on the date by fellow young-spirited septuagenarians Buster Williams, on bass, and Lenny White, on drums, Tolliver squeezes out bright tones and mercurial runs from his horn, reeling out one surprising idea after another during his improvisations. Pianist Keith Brown lives up to his heritage (his father played in Blakey's Jazz Messengers) by matching White's fury in the rhythm section, and alto saxophonist Jesse Davis and rising English tenor star Binker Golding (on two of the four Tolliver-composed tracks) bolster the front-line unisons and solo admirably in Tolliver's formidable slipstream. Bursting with energy, tinged with funk, soul, blues, and free jazz, and superbly recorded, mastered, and cut to vinyl, Connect is 40 minutes of exhilarating, ageless hard-bop.
-Derk Richardson, The Absolute Sound, March 2021, Music 4.5/5, Sonics 4.5/5


  • Vinyl LP
  • Mastered and cut by Darrel Sheinman & Caspar Sutton-Jones at Gearbox Records


Charles Tolliver trumpet
Jesse Davis alto saxophone
Keith Brown piano
Buster Williams bass
Lenny White drums
Binker Golding tenor sax (A2 & B2)


Side A:

  1. Blue Soul
  2. Emperor March

Side B:

  1. Copaestic
  2. Suspicion

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