Posi-Tone recording artist Tom Tallitsch has just dropped a stellar new release, Ride...
This isn't Tom's first rodeo as he has been putting out consistently high quality music for roughly a decade. I have been fortunate enough to get to know Tom and we were able to hook up thanks to modern technology to discuss the new record.
I asked Tom to tell us about Ride. We also discussed the more open ended sound and how this may have developed.
T.T. - I wrote every song on the album with the intention of creating a vehicle for the band to groove and solo on, while trying to give the listener a strong set of melodies and forms to latch onto. Most of the songs were written with a quartet in mind before the lineup was chosen. I've played a ton with bassist Peter Brendler and pianist Art Hirahara, so they were no brainers. Rudy is one of the greatest drummers that I have ever heard, and at the time I was listening to a lot of JD Allen's trio records. Rudy just made that band perfect. Once all of the songs came together, I really started to hear trombone harmonies in 4th and 5ths. Mike Dease has such a warm and beautiful tone that I could hear on the album, and I am so glad he is on it.
In my review I remarked about the warm and open sound only to have Tom confirm the following day that my ear was still there as this was essentially a live studio release. I asked him to explain the pressure involved in that type of recording.
T.T. - The original recording date was 10/29/12, the Monday that Hurricane Sandy hit NYC. We had a rehearsal 2 days prior, and we were all really amped up to record. When we realized the storm was going to be no joke, I cancelled the session and the Posi-Tone guys jumped on a last minute plane out of NY. After the dust settled, we decided to try it again the day after the Super Bowl 4 months late in February 2013. Once the session finally happened, I think we were all relieved. The flood gates opened and we just played. The energy was huge, and I feel that we left it all on the tape. It was a good day.
Some killer covers were banged out on this session, "Ten Years Gone" from Zeppelin and David Bowie's "Life On Mars." I asked Tom to explain how these tunes came to be.
T.T. - I love trying cover tunes. I grew up on a cocktail of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Beatles etc., and then on the flip side Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson. It is really a big challenge to arrange covers without them sounding square. With David Bowie's Life On Mars, the melody and chord progressions are strong and memorable, and did not require arranging or alterations. Sometimes the most beautiful performances an be created by just stating the melody. The groove, chord progression, and transitions from verse to chorus in the original recording of Led Zeppelin's "Ten Years Gone" created almost limitless ideas for me as an arranger. The version you hear on Ride is the final product of several arrangement that I originally brought to the band to try.
Having touched on the band members, I asked Tom how hard it is to keep a band together.
T.T. - It is really hard to keep a band together, especially when cats like Rudy, Art, and Mike are traveling around all the time. It's all about booking dates. If the good performances are there for the guys to play, hopefully they will be there.
Tom's label is Posi-Tone, a label known as artist friendly and with the old school commitment to artistic development. I asked to about the importance of working in this environment.
T.T. - I love Posi-Tone Records, and am sincerely grateful for the creative guidance and friendship that I have received from those guys. We are able to speak openly and without baggage about what is working and what isn't. I am looking at recording again for Posi-Tone this spring. I have a book of new and older compositions that I would like to get out. I could tell you more about the band, but that would be letting the cat out of the band right?
I want to thank Tom and of course Posi-Tone for their help and support for this interview and other projects as well. Ride is easily one of the best for 2014!
Check out my review:
Check out Tom's site:
Check out Posi-Tone
Photos "creatively' acquired from Tom's site with credit going to Bryan Murray.