Chapter One, the debut recording from bassist Marshal Herridge, showcases his admirable Montreal-based quartet performing nine of the leader's bright and limber compositions and arrangements. Besides keeping splendid time (his sonorous bass is recorded so prominently that not a beat is missed or undervalued), Herridge solos eloquently in the manner of his musical heroes, Paul Chambers and Scott LaFaro, whose artistry served as inspiration for the album.
Exercising his prerogative as foreman, Herridge solos on every one of the nine tracks and lays down the melody on two: "Helga" and the closing "Wonderland." He plays arco on the first of the session's two flag-wavers, the opening "HerridgeIn," as well as on the second, the exuberant "Blues for Paul." His talented teammatespianist André White, guitarist Sam Kirmayer, drummer Guillaume Pilotequickly verify their credentials on "HerridgeIn" and broaden them throughout. White and Kirmayer are splendid soloists, while Pilote tastefully enhances the rhythm without stepping on anyone's toes.
As for Herridge, he writes engaging melodies at any tempo, from the burners already noted to ballads ("Lee-Ann," "Ocarina"), more blues ("Chippin"), a jaunty toe-tapper ("Setting Out") and laid-back lullabies ("Helga," "I Should Have Said"), then entrusts them to the capable hands of White, Kirmayer and Pilote, even as he uses his unerring bass lines to provide an inflexible counterpoint. "Blues for Paul" is certainly a highlight, with earnest solos from all hands, as is the more easygoing but no less enticing "Setting Out," a showcase for Kirmayer's elegant guitar. The music, in fact, is sharp and persuasive, as is Herridge's quartet. Well done.
Herridgein; Lee-Ann; Ocarina; Helga; I Should Have Said; Setting Out; Chippin;
Blues for Paul; Wonderland.
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