106

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

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Sherman Ferguson's Jazz Union: Welcome to My Vision . . . 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 Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Lea Áigi" CD/LP/Track Review Lea Áigi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "The Django Experiment I & II" CD/LP/Track Review The Django Experiment I & II
by Peter Jurew
Published: April 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.