July 10, 2024

Vincent Herring
Mr. Wizard
(High Note – 2004)
by John Thompson

During the 1980’s “resurrection of Jazz”, the Marsalis brothers were the dominant names; however, many other young artists were on that same scene including sax man and California native Vincent Herring. Having played with the likes of veterans Nat Adderley, Sonny Fortune, Cedar Walton and others, this bob-filled Herring release features some of today’s “young lions.”

The Herring produced CD presents nine tunes, featuring Jeremy Pelt (T), Danny Grissett (P), Richie Goods (B), and E.J. Strickland on drums. The bops, All God’s Children Got Rhythm, McCoy Tyner’s Four by Five, Mr. Wizard, and the challenging opening of Hopscotch represent my favorites, along with Pelt’s Cassius. Citizen of Zamunda finds Herring on soprano with a slight funk feel that spotlights Grissett reminding of a piano player with the last name of Hancock.

Minus a few obvious tuning problems between sax and trumpet in spots, this is a disc worth owning. The group is well balanced, and the tracks are well placed to make the disc enjoyable to listen to. 4 stars


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