Tots Tolentino

Tots Tolentino

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In 1990, Philippine male saxophonist Tots Tolentino, one of the country's most respected jazz artists, released his self-titled album. The music of Tots Tolentino is contemporary jazz in nature, and contains a significant amount of note-for-note playing, but there are also doses of thrilling improvisation. Tolentino is a serious jazz musician and has toured Asia in a band headed by famed Japanese trumpeter Terumasa Hino. The Philippines, however, isn't conducive to straight-ahead jazz, and many record companies emphasize note-for-note playing on instrumental albums. This album's "Ikaw Lamang" (Only You), for example, is a pretty, pleasant tune on which Tolentino sticks to the original melody. The same goes for "Hanggang Kailan" (Up to When), "Paano" (How), and others. Yet, while these songs don't break borders, they are enjoyable, and it's obvious that Tolentino has much talent. More action takes place in "Himig Natin" (Our Hymn), which starts with a simple, pretty melody, but also has Tolentino improvising energetically over the song's chord changes. "Kiko" is a funky, upbeat number, and contains a thrilling electric guitar solo performed in a jazz/rock manner. Tolentino exhibits a knack for composing, and he composed four of the album's eight songs. He's also an excellent arranger, and seven songs feature his arrangements. An enjoyable album, though Tolentino is capable of much more.

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