Vincent Herring – Night and Day
(Smoke Sessions SSR-1504. Review by Peter Vacher)
Here’s another in this New York club’s enterprising series of live sessions with ace altoist Vincent Herring fronting a quintet over six of its ten tracks, the remainder by a quartet. Herring tends to be cast as a latter-day Cannonball Adderley and he does have some of that great man’s ebullience and flair.
He’s a resourceful improviser, firmly in the post-bop tradition and knows how to energise a band, this evident on the opening Grind Hog’s Day, a bright piece that first demonstrates drummer Joe Farnsworth’s roller-coaster way with the beat, as trumpeter Jeremy Pelt comes in warm-toned and poised, his pairing with Herring as classy as can be. Pianist Mike Le Donne is another who can turn on a sixpence and deliver intriguing responses to tunes. This is especially evident on the quartet version of Night and Day, this familiar song given a stringent work-over by Herring that keeps the melody uppermost. Elsewhere, the chosen tunes allow Herring to cherish the memory of pianist Cedar Walton with whom he worked for years, via an original by Le Donne called Walton and with Walton’s own Theme for Jobim, this with pell-mell trumpet by Pelt, and also to recall Adderley with Wabash.
The whole band – Brandi Disterheft is on bass -pleases on The Adventures of Hyun Joo Lee, a Herring composition written in tribute to a student and her ‘incredible story’. It goes like the proverbial train, Pelt again fierce as Herring flies, the final riff underpinned by thunder drums. Walton is nicely shaped and has something of the clever architecture usually noted in Cedar’s own tunes.
If you have any doubt about the life left in the hard bop concept, find this and expect to be reassured. Frankly, any chance to hear Pelt on record is to be grabbed – super trumpet sound, lively facility and that ability to find rewarding phrases. He has it all. Then again, the chance to hear Herring play The Gypsy, as a plaintive tour-de-force, shouldn’t be ignored either. Masterly music throughout.