Mark Sherman: One Step Closer (2005)
Mark Sherman's sixth album will hopefully do something to spread the word about this talented vibraphonist's work. Sherman is a New Yorker who has a has a degree from Julliard and has worked in a classical music environment. He's been recording since 1986, but he's largely worked as a sideman for other recording artists, including long stints with Peggy Lee and Larry Coryell.
Sherman has assembled a fine group consisting of Joe Magnarelli (trumpet and flugelhorn), Allen Farnham (piano), Dean Johnson (bass), and Tim Horner (drums). In addition, Joe Lovano, one of the most noted saxophonists on today's jazz scene, joins the group on three tracks and raises the bar on each of them, whether blowing hot ("Modal Blues"), cool (Mancini's "Moon River"), or in a Caribbean mode (the Farnham original "Genkitively").
Sherman knows how to play a ballad or bop tune well, and his style harkens back to a 1960s Blue Note sensibilityinvoking at times Bobby Hutcherson's work during that period. He displays none of the tendency of many newer vibists to expand the instrument's scope by incorporating a free jazz or world jazz approach. The addition of Magnarelli as both a soloist and melody voice is commendable; both his trumpet and flugelhorn work are worthy of note. Veteran pianist Allen Farnham is also a solid addition, providing solid backing and solo work. This group also knows how to deliver ballads, like the Sherman originals "Little Lullaby" and "Ella Bella," as well as the Mellon/Wood piece "My One and Only Love."
Track Listing: Modal Blues; Little Lullaby; Moon River; Spiritual Exercise; Hope; Genkitively; My Princess; My One and Only Love; Ella Bella; Long Trip Home.
Personnel: Mark Shrman: vibraphone and marimba; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet/flugelhorn; Allen Franham: piano; Dean Johnson: bass; Tim Horner: drums.