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Charles Tolliver: It’s Time

Charles Tolliver

I never vanished. I was right here all the time playing.” Charles Tolliver, 64, was in Brooklyn, sitting in a tall-backed rocking chair with a pouch of Gauloises tobacco and a vintage brass Besson trumpet within reach. He was reflecting on some of the recent stories published about him that, while laudatory, suggest he is a kind of hard-bop Rip Van Winkle, suddenly returned to the jazz capital after decades in the wilderness.

“I understand,” he continues. “I wasn’t recording with one of the majors or being written about in the major publications. I was doing my own thing, just going straight ahead with it.”

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