The vibraphone shines up any ensemble you slip it into, giving the music a lustre and bounce. Just ask Dave Holland, who uses Steve Nelson's mallet expertise in his bands, both large and small.
Mark Sherman, Julliard-educated, is a versatile musician whoin addition to his jazz outingshas played in symphonic situations with Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, and Sir George Soite; and if you want to talk about jazz, he has been a member of guitarist Larry Coryell's ensemble for the past five years. With several CDs out under his own name, most recently The Motive Series
(CAP, '04), with tenor sax man Michael Brecker sitting in on two tunes, Sherman now offers up a quintet affair featuring saxophonist Joe Lovano on three cuts. He does know how to pick a guest artist.
Positive vibes (pun intended) seems to be the theme of Sherman's sound, a music with a gregarious feeling. It would be easy to count the tunes with Lovano as the highlights; the man seems incapable of turning in a less than inspired effort, especially on Henry Mancini's "Moon River," played straight, with Lovano smoldering out of a sweet, end-of-the-solo vibraphone cascade. But this ear favors Sherman's original "Spiritual Exercise," a gleaming up-tempo tune full of energetic interplay between trumpet, piano, and vibes.
Six of these ten tunes are by Sherman, and he proves himself a first rate composer/arranger with an ear for a lot of tasty piano/vibes interaction.
A breakout effort for the mallet man.
Personnel: Mark Shrman: vibraphone and marimba; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet/flugelhorn; Allen
Franham: piano; Dean Johnson: bass; Tim Horner: drums.