Charles Tolliver’s Music Inc: Live at Loosdrecht Jazz Festival (1972) Strata East

Selection: Truth (Tolliver)

.  .  .

Track List

A1. Grand Max (Tolliver) – 11:06
A2. Truth – (Tolliver) 10:13
B1. Prayer for Peace (Stanley Cowell) – 15:08
C1. Our Second Father (Tolliver)  15:57
D1. Repetition (Neal Hefti) – 12:37

The track “Our Second Father” is of course reference to Coltrane, coming after Charlie Parker, as “Our First Father”. Nice tribute.


Charles Tolliver, trumpet, flugelhorn; John Hicks, piano; Reggie Workman, bass; Alvin Queen, drums; recorded live  9th August 1972 ; courtesy Joop de Noo, Radio Hilversum, engineer Cees van der Gracht; Yuzoh Satoh, photography;  Hamish Grimes, Watanabe Jr., design.

Location : Loosdrecht, lakeside North Holland, half way between Amsterdam and Utrecht,  also host to Charles Mingus concert on record..


Live at Loosdrecht  is not music for relaxation or yoga, but the selection “Truth” stands out as a reflective and sensitive piece. Considering the year is 1972, the music is quite uncompromising compared to directions other artists and labels were the time. No fusion leanings or electronics.

Live open-air recording, acoustic instruments with minimal atmospheric reverb presence, quite austere compared with club, concert hall and studio recordings. The few open air concerts I’ve attended, the instruments are remixed through vast overhead public address systems, and bear little resemblance to the source of origin on stage. This Strata East recording actually feels more “live” than most of my own live experiences.

Tolliver’s Music Inc. is a sparse vehicle for Tolliver’s trumpet: strident, sometimes quite harsh, shorn of any other horn harmonies, weight falls on John Hick’s piano to keep the musical direction flowing, sparing with the bass and drums. Reggie Workman, John Coltrane’s bassist, is smouldering and  Alvin Queen ensures no-one gets any sleep.

Hicks is the equal of Tolliver in the energy stakes. I had to refresh my recollection of his history, I knew the name but not the history. Hicks served time with Art Blakey in the mid-sixties, after most of the Messengers alumni had moved on to careers of their own. He has drawn comparisons with McCoy Tyner,  his style  “a combination of irresistible creativity and responsiveness encompassing swing, hard bop and the avant garde” (Wiki covers all the bases). Hick’s discography runs for over three hundred session entries through to 2006, climbing from sideman to leader.

.Vinyl: Strata East SES 19740, 19741  Stereo 2xLP 

Love Strata East catalogue number sequence  – which starts with the year of release. 

A previous owner of this record housed the vinyl in Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Original Master record inner sleeves, always a good sign! I use a similar mylar inner sleeve but add a separate paper outer sleeve, which allows me to write listening notes, picks, artist highlights, sonic impressions, and history of purchase  source and price, held with the record. The sonic impressions can be quite revealing as your music system evolves, a historic benchmark tied to a specific record. It may have sounded good or not so good five years ago, how does it compare today? 


Harry’s Place

Harry M was always in the right place at the right time: Charles Tolliver at Montreux, 1971

Photocredit: © Harry M

Collector’s Corner

Less collectable than Strata East, the UK Black Lion edition (1974) of Live as Loosdrecht  can be found for “loose change”. Not a contender in the cover art competition.

The legacy entity of Strata East has also been busy licensing Strata East reissues, including the Loosdrecht  double album (Strata East US, 2x180gm LP,  2019) Juno is out of stock, but the page has samples of all the other tracks active, to hear more.

In the UK, Stata East reissues are released by Pure Pleasure, who commission high quality remastering and pressing.  A couple which I have  pitch the vinyl sonics around half-way between digital and all-analogue, which is not that bad a place to be when the original is not practically available. (Same could not be said of a continental Euro-reissue of a Strata East I picked up released by a Dutch label Everland Music, very stodgy.)


Slowly, the original  Strata East collection advances. Not everything in the catalogue is equally good, but a great many outstanding sessions, good recording engineering, and excellent pressings (for early 70s). And rare! 

Label Guides Update

Major addition to the Guide to the Riverside label, prompted by TokyoJazzCollector Hiromasa N. – early white label 12-201 – 243,  complete series.


With the terrible events in last few days on the eastern borders of Europe, a dedication for the brave people of Ukraine: – Charles Tolliver – Prayer For Peace 




9 thoughts on “Charles Tolliver’s Music Inc: Live at Loosdrecht Jazz Festival (1972) Strata East

  1. I really liked John Hicks playing ever since hearing him on Pharoah Sanders’ “You Gotta Have Freedom”. His solo LP on Strata is one of the very few I have although I wouldn’t say it’s a great record. However I would heartily recommend the last recording he made a trio with Buster Williams & Louis Hayes titled “On The Wings Of An Eagle”. Only released on a CD in 2006 so not collectible but the music and recording are both excellent.
    Yes that Black Lion cover is simply dreadful! So bad in fact that Alan Bates used it twice once for the release of “Charles Tolliver & His All Stars” in 71 which went onto be known as “Paper Man” when Arista in 75 (with thankfully a different though similarly underwhelming cover) and again for the LP you review.
    It’s enough to put you off playing it. Simply yuck!


  2. Recently bought the Pure Pleasure reissue of this 2LP set and will be giving it a spin this weekend. These Tolliver Pure Pleasure vinyl reissues are outstanding.

    I used to have the Black Lion version of this one many years ago but sold it for a pittance in a moment of temporary madness. Great to put things right with the Pure Pleasure.

    Fabulous version of ‘Repetition’ on this recording.


  3. I have the Black Lion edition, which like your Stata East, has a good live sound. I note that Alun Bates has a producer’s credit which would suggest that it was recorded by Black Lion for Strata East.


    • The recording engineer seems to be linked to Radio Hilversum, but you are right, the producer credit is jointly to Bates and Tolliver. It was probably planned as a simultaneous release, with Black Lion for Europe, and Strata East for the US. Seems to be the way Bates worked.


  4. John Hicks was an underappreciated titan of the piano. I suggest a listen to any of his recordings that contain his masterpiece “After the Morning”


  5. Another crackling live Music Inc. Strata-East gem. Tolliver and co really kept the burners lit under acoustic jazz in the 1970s. If you haven’t already done so, check out the Live In Tokyo LP with Stanley Cowell taking the piano seat.


  6. Great publication once again friend Andrew. Your wisdom and your love for music is wonderful. In these sad days it is a delight to read and listen to jazz, to calm the body and mind. Congratulations..Carlos Julian


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