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CD REVIEW: Tom Tallitsch and Dave Manley - Duality
By Chip Withrow - 01/28/2006 - 08:04 PM EST

Artist: Tom Tallitsch and Dave Manley
Album: Duality
CD Review: Here’s how I know this jazz CD has crossover appeal: my wife, my four-year-old daughter and a couple of my 16-year-old students all like it.

And I dig this disc immensely myself. It’s been a while, I admit, since I’ve listened to jazz. But the idea of an unlikely (to my ears at least) collaboration between tenor saxophone and acoustic guitar intrigued me, so I decided to give this album a listen.

Tom Tallitsch is a gifted horn player who can do buoyant (“Big Sky”) and melancholy (“Propellerhead”), smooth soul (Stevie Wonder’s “Visions”) and bop (“Coming Around”). He also wrote four of the eight songs on Duality.

Dave Manley’s guitar often provides a rhythmic canvas, yet he steps out, too. Check out the dizzying work on “Falling Grace” and the wondrous extended solo on “Infant Eyes.” His playing reminds me of McCoy Tyner’s piano work with John Coltrane.

I like a hook that sticks in my mind so I find myself scat-singing or whistling it throughout the day, and “Big Sky” delivers just that. Tallitsch’s main horn riff is deceptive; only after repeated listens did I hear how many notes go into it.

“Coming Around” is infectious, too. A full band could really cook on this number, but the duo does just fine on its on. Tallitsch and Manley do some great trading off on this tune, and it is also notable for how the horn backs the guitar in a few spots.

I love how on several songs, Tallitsch’s deft playing starts simply, spirals with every-increasing complexity, and then lands on the melody at song’s end. The absolutely cool-as-can-be “Lulu’s Back in Town” is an example of this.

And then there’s the closer, “Mablestates,” written by the duo, in which Tallitsch tosses out inspired sonic bouquets from the get-go, leading Manley to do the same. I imagine this would be a fitting finale for a live show as well.

I listen to this cd in a variety of contexts: folding laundry, taking in a breezy afternoon on the porch, as inspiration to tackle some jazz on my guitar, and as my high school students and I are writing poetry.

Duality has become one of my most listened-to discs, a pure, unadorned gem that has gotten me back on the jazz train again.

tomtallitsch.com


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