Tom Tallitsch

Medicine Man

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    7
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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 Miceli and 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.

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