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QUARTER TONE is the first collaborative project by the singer Alderman Tolliver and the music producer Lister Rossel.

“At the crossroads of gospel, jazz, and hip-hop, Quarter Tone is a witness to our world. Right here, right now. We live in a paradox: while technology instantly allows people the world over to work together without ever physically meeting, social and economic inequalities grow globally. Hip-hop’s truth telling, jazz’s improvisation, gospel’s faith, and digital possibility intersect on this album to tell the truth of our moment.

Think about it. It is criminal that the distance between Alderman Tolliver’s earnest lyrics and, say, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On is so much shorter than the four decades they span suggest. We still sing our way through daily struggles for physical safety, education, employment, and social equality.

Producer Lister Rossel interpolates performances from musicians recorded in the United States and Chile to invent a soundscape for this reality. Quarter Tone’s cool, Sunday-morning-in-space vibe belies its lyrical frustration, its deep undercurrent of rage. As the best art does, this album builds an alternate world for listeners to better understand our own world.

In the end, however, it is faith – faith in the catharsis of lament and in the hope of reinvention – that carries Quarter Tone. Its final track, a traditional gospel song, reminds us why we struggle, why we reinvent. Tolliver’s slow steps echo through Rossel’s minimal soundscape, maybe the answer is down by the riverside…”

Allison Bolah (Educator and MFA in Visual Studies).


Produced and composed by Lister Rossel

Written by Jonathan “Alderman” Tolliver

Synth: John Keston

Keys: Esteban Zúñiga and John Keston

Sax: Cole Pulice

Bass: Nils Westdal

Guitars: Cristóbal Pera “Prezz” & Lister Rossel

All songs produced, composed and mixed by Lister Rossel

Mastered by Ben Hogarth

Illustration cover by Luisa Rivera

Design by Tianrui Zhang

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R&B, Music Production, Alderman Tolliver


20 November


Music Production