Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

106

Sherman Ferguson's Jazz Union: Welcome to My Vision . . .

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
One need only glance at Sherman Ferguson’s smiling face on the cover of his long-overdue debut as leader of his own quartet to understand that this is a gentleman who thoroughly enjoys his work. Ferguson’s happiness is evident throughout the session, lending it an aura of good-natured camaraderie that enables his companions to simply loosen their ties and blow. Even without a piano to cue the changes, drummer Ferguson and bassist Trevor Ware are such accurate and persuasive timekeepers that front-liners Carl Randall and Louis Van Taylor are gently pushed along by the lively and persistent rhythmic undercurrent, responding with a number of ardent and resourceful solos in the post-bop vernacular.

Ferguson, a Philadelphian who counts Roy Haynes, Max Roach, Billy Hart, Elvin Jones and Billy Higgins among his mentors and inspirations, is a “musical” drummer who uses his remarkable technique and receptive ear to lay down a handsome carpet of sound that enhances but doesn’t overshadow the group dynamic. The only lapse comes on Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” wherein Ferguson’s natural aggressiveness weakens its poignant message. “Lush Life” is one of five jazz originals (the others are by Johnny Griffin, Wayne Shorter, Oliver Nelson and Bobby Watson) linked to a pair of compositions by Ferguson (“Mixed Nuts,” “Philly Joe / Jughead’s Hat”) and another, “Spirit of Higgins,” created on the spot by the quartet at Worldstage in Los Angeles a week before Higgins’ death as an impromptu tribute to the ailing drummer.

“Mixed Nuts” is in the New Orleans tradition of buoyant “street drumming,” while “Philly Joe / Jughead” opens with Ferguson’s nimble drum solo before assuming a boppish posture with incisive statements by Randall and Van Taylor (who’s listed on soprano but plays tenor). Griffin’s bluesy “Call It Whachawanna” is followed by Shorter’s ”Lester Left Town,” taken at a much faster tempo than usual, Nelson’s melancholy “Black, Brown and Beautiful” (introduced by Van Taylor’s soprano and Ware’s arco bass) and Watson’s eccentric “Monk He See, Monk He Do.” Pianoless quartets don’t always live up to their basic purpose, which is to swing; thanks to Ferguson and Ware, here’s one that does.

Contact: drumshop@attbi.com


Track Listing: Mixed Nuts; Call It Whachawanna; Lester Left Town; Black, Brown & Beautiful; Monk He See, Monk He Do; Lush Life; Philly Joe / Jughead

Personnel: Carl Randall, tenor sax; Louis Van Taylor, soprano sax (1, 3, 4, 7, 8), tenor sax (2, 5), bass clarinet (6, 8); Trevor Ware, bass; Sherman Ferguson, drums, percussion.

Title: Welcome to My Vision . . . | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Jazz/a/s

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Umbrella Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Dedication" CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "The Final Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Birdhoused" CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Shadow Work" CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017