New York vibraphonist Mark Sherman leads a stellar quartet on The Motive Series, which includes two straight-ahead standards and a number of original themes. His percussive cascades emphasize the spontaneous character of his ensemble, as well as the artists' fluid interplay. Cohesive and enriched by the vibraphone's overlaying harmonies, the quartet strolls confidently through visions of Latin lightheartedness, soulful blues passions, and dramatic fire.
Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker guests on two arrangements which stretch the session's capacity for serious intensity. With his two cameos, fire and passion drive the ensemble forcefully.
A mellow "Soothing Dream" and an introspective "Venture Within" feature Sherman's sonorous vibraphone with peaceful strolls. Waltzing with a loping stride, he releases fluid streams of lyrical phrases, all tied together seamlessly. Solos from piano and bass complement the desired mood.
"That Moment" captures a rolling wave that Sherman's vibraphone portrays naturally. He swings lightly as he connects spontaneous phrases in a laid-back, relaxed fashion. "Altered" toys with harmony in such a way that blue notes and "Monk" ideas commingle in a marriage of spirit. As the session's high point, this closing number foretells that The Motive Series, Sherman's fourth album, promises a future with greater recognition for a deserving talent.