Thursday, July 29, 2004

Vincent Herring – Mr. Wizard (High Note, 2004)
This is another very interesting mainstream jazz release from the High Note label. Vincent Herring gets ample support from up and coming trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, and the music is well mixed between uptempo, midtempo and ballad pieces that allow all of the soloists a chance to stand out.

Jeremy Pelt plays really well, and he fits in perfectly with this acoustic hard-bop format. Herring has a mid 60’s like Coltrane sound, particularly on tenor and soprano saxophone on the very upbeat songs like “Encounters” and “Hopscotch.” The ballad material like “You Leave Me Breathless” allows the band more space to stretch out their improvisations in a less cluttered environment.

With excellent with Herring and Don Braden among others, High Note is becoming one of the leading labels of the jazz mainstream. As the major label subsidiaries Verve and Blue Note continue to search for the next big diva or pretty boy singer, the door is open for labels like High Note to pick up the slack, which they are doing quite well.

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