Fresh Squeezed

Jerry Tolson

Can you say “straightahead jazz”? Pianist and professor Jerry Tolson says it 11 different ways, featuring his working group of David Clark (alto), Doug Elmore (bass) and Dwight Dozier (drums), with guests on several tracks. All but the blazing opener, Horace Silver’s “Split Kick,” are originals. On this, “Sweet Cakes and Honey” and the loping, bluesy “Walnut Street Stroll,” guest altoist Antonio Hart matches musical wits with Clark. New Orleans trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis adds some bottom groove to “Summer Solstice,” a Coltrane-inspired piece, and helps the closing “Fat Tuesday” strut with some barbecue. The title track and “The Verdict Is In” feature the great Rufus Reid on bass and add the tasty guitar of Jeff Sherman. Tolson carefully annotates each track, without becoming overly academic, pointing out his inspirations. The album overall is polished yet soulful.