Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vincent Herring & Earth Jazz Play Old-School Funky

How you feel about this CD depends on how you feel about mid-'70s funk. True there were commercial excesses that just about killed the form back then. But there were things that had substance as well. If you don't like that music, you will not like this music.

If the best moments of Herbie Hancock's funk ensembles still sound good to you, I think you'll like this one. Vincent Herring is a very good player. You wont hear him doing post-Cannonball hard bop here, like he did with the Jazz Messengers and later on his own. He plays a bit less sometimes than he would on a more straight-ahead mainstream date. But what he plays is just right. In fact Morning Star (Challenge 73297) can be said to proffer a "just right" kind of old funk. This band has been doing what they are doing for the past five years. And everything fits together right. Anthony Wonsey plays some very respectable keys too. The rhythm section is locked in.

And when they give the treatment to "Naima," I must say it does please me. Well now, that's what I think. There's room on the planet for styles that some people did their best to discredit a few years ago. It's the musicians' right to fit into whatever niche they choose. And if it is done very well, like this Earth Jazz band does, it's a good thing.

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