Vincent Herring: Mr. Wizard (2004)
Beginning with a bebopping arrangement of “All God’s Children Got Rhythm,” featuring alternating alto and trumpet calls and responses in the melody and four bar exchanges with Strickland, the band shows where it’s coming from before Goods’ “Citizen Of Zamunda,” with its modernistic Native American sounding melody and rhythm featuring the leader’s soprano, demonstrates where it can go. Grissett’s “Hopscotch,” named for its stuttering introduction, is an engaging line that might easily be mistaken for a Horace Silver classic. Herring’s impassioned alto is particularly attractive on “You Leave Me Breathless.”
The quintet fires up McCoy Tyner’s tricky “Four By Five” with admirable aplomb, breathing new life into a classic from a still neglected period of the jazz repertory. A second Grissett original, “Encounters,” is an harmonic exploration of the territory originally mined by Miles Davis’ ‘60s quintet, with the entire group blending into an expressive impressionism propelled by Strickland’s provocative percussion discussions. A pair from the pen of Pelt, “Cassius” and “The Walk Home,” the former a swinging affair and the latter a pensive waltz, demonstrates the trumpeter’s strength as a composer. Herring wraps up the date with his own “Mr. Wizard,” a Jazz Messengerish anthem that gives everybody in the band the kind of workout you can expect to hear in one of their exciting live performances.
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This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm (4:28) 2. Citizen of Zamunda (4:43) 3. Hopscotch (4:05) 4. You Leave Me Breathless (5:04) 5. Four by Five (5:04) 6. Encounters (7:43) 7. Cassius (5:21) 8. The Walk Home (7:19) 9. Mr. Wizard (5:40)
Personnel: Vincent Herring: Alto Sax, Soprano Sax; Danny Grissett: Piano; Richie Goods: Bass; Jeremy Pelt: Trumpet; E.J. Strickland: Drums.