Sherman plays percussion, drums and vibes but claims that his first and main love is piano. Here he has lined up a strong hard-bop combo with musicians of contrasting styles for plenty of variety.
The opening piece is mid-tempo and gives Herring, trombonist Sakamento and the leader a chance to exercise their chops to good effect. Even better, Juicy Lucy is the sort of composition that is ideal for this type of combo and after the solid ensemble opening, Herring has a fiery solo followed by a crisp trombone outing and a glittering single-note lines type foray by Sherman.
The John Lewis composition Milestones is up next and the horns, in unison, map it out. Sherman is the first soloist and he plays with crispness and easy swing. Not difficult of course when you have a bassist like Drummond and Allen at the drums. Herring’s hard-bop alto adds piquancy to the proceedings before Sakamoto takes it down a notch with a lyrical trombone outing.
The programme here is well balanced with three attractive originals by Sherman and solid jazz staples by Silver, Cedar Walton, Lewis, Tom McIntosh and a ballad by Cole Porter. Every time We Say Goodbye slows down the tempo for what proves to be a warm and inventive reading of an old favourite. Sherman is particularly light and lyrical on this one and this is his best solo overall on the album. He is also the only soloist apart from a short bass spot.
If this is Sherman’s other voice I’m not sure what his first is as it isn’t stated but this session is an example of good, solid bop of a type heard on records too infrequently these days.
Primative Reality; Juicy Lucy; Milestones; Ale; Every time We Say Goodbye; Hindsight; Devotion’s Dance; The Cup Bearers (50.32)
Sherman (p); Vincent Herring (as); Nana Sakamoto (tb); Ray Drummond, Dan Chmielinski (b); Carl Allen (d). NJ, 9 January 2019.
Miles High 8633