Conrad Herwig: The Latin Side of Wayne Shorter (2008)
"Adam's Apple" may not be Shorter's greatest composition, but Palmieri makes a convincing case with syncopated montuno vamps that drive drummer Robby Ameen's funky backbeat and inspire baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber's sly comments and robust soloing. Palmieri taps into "Masquelero"'s heart of darkness and Herwig's tone on trombone is elusive and introverted, before trumpeter Brian Lynch takes a note-bending solo that slides itself into the piano's rhythms like mortar. Herwig and Lynch's simpatico playing is the highlight of "Footprints," each of them winding similarly smooth and uncluttered solos around Pedro Martinez' congas.
This is the third installment in Herwig's Latin Side series (following interpretations of Coltrane and Miles) and features silky virtuosic musicianship applied to intricate, intelligent, original compositions. Shorter's tunes are well-known and highly regarded as being flexible enough to suit a variety of instrumental lineups. Since he's gathered his own multi-horn groups in the past, the sound of these arrangements doesn't stray too far from his initial conceptions. But if you know a person who thinks jazz is difficult to get, lacks melody, or you can't dance to it, this is a CD that will change their mind.
Track Listing: Ping Pong; Tom Thumb; El Gaucho; Night Dreamer; This Is for Albert; Adam's Apple; Masqualero; Footprints.
Personnel: Conrad Herwig: trombone; Brian Lynch: trumpet; Ronnie Cuber: baritone sax; Eddie Palmieri, Luis Perdomo: piano; Ruben Rodriguez: bass; Robby Ameen: drums; Pedro Martinez: congas.
Record Label: Half Note Records