Having played with Nat Adderley before his death, and being chosen to play alto sax in the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band with Louis Hayes, is an earned honor for Vincent Herring, as Vincent’s playing brings to mind the late Cannonball Adderley in his tone, attack, and delivery.
Herring’s fourth CD as a leader for High Note Records, Ends and Means, matches up Vince with the young and fast rising Jeremy Pelt, on trumpet. Pelt is a band mate in the Cannonball Legacy Band as well. Vincent has packed a lot of recording leader sessions for a 41 year old. Preceding his present six year stint with High Note, Herring recorded 10 albums for mainly for the Musicmasters and Landmark labels.
Other session mates on this CD include pianist Danny Grissett, who made his recording debut on Herring’s 2004 High Note issue, Mr. Wizard. Other members of the quintet include the well-respected Essiett Essiett on bass, and Joris Dudli on drums. Essiett shines on the CD’s second track, Tom Tom.
Irving Berlin’s The Song is Ended is a nice feature for trumpeter Pelt, who has entered the upper echelon of young trumpet stars, as he can play with rapid fire or in a relaxed ballad manner with both power and grace. Pelt and Herring make great partners making their transition between solos sound effortless. Benny Golson’s Stable Mates is done up tempo fashion until pianist Grissett slows down the pace for his fluid solo. The Beatles Norwegian Wood soars on its a chorus with Herring taking lead until Grissett steps in capably with his solo. Mulgrew Miller’s Wingspan has Herring and Pelt going to battle and never letting go. Drummer Dudli’s funky, Thoughts follows next with Herring switching to soprano sax, and Pelt’s warm muted trumpet adding a special touch. The CD is concluded with an 11+ minute take on Ellington’s, Caravan, with Dudli and Pelt spotlighted, as is Herring’s Middle Eastern tone on soprano sax.
This CD shows that Herring certainly has the means to swing with the best of the present decade’s alto sax players.
– Jeff Krow