Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mark Sherman, The L.A. Sessions, Exemplary Bop for Vibes and Organ Trio

When a vibesman of the stature of Mark Sherman teams up with a crack organ trio (Bill Cunliffe, Hammond; John Chiodini, guitar; Charles Ruggiero, drums) for a set of bop/hard bop standards ("Woody N' You," "Whisper Not," "Bag's Groove") and not-so-standards ("Quasimodo," "Celia," "Serpent's Tooth") you expect a certain thihg. And on Mark Sherman's L.A. Sessions (Miles High 8617), you pretty much get it.

That "it" is some nicely swinging ensemble grooving and good-bopping solo work. The drumming kicks it up, guitar and organ solos get inside the genre well, and... Mark Sherman does the entire set WITHOUT sounding like Milt Jackson. The bop lines are there with all lucidity, but he has a sound that's softer than Bags, a little more crisply articulated.

Like the moldy fig New Orleans disks made in the '40s and '50s, bopping is the new traditionalist cottage industry. And like that era's revivals, the current turn backwards doesn't always uncover new avenues or open up additional vistas.

Mark Sherman brings a slightly different articulation to it though. And everybody so thoroughly grounds themselves in the idiom that you can't help but appreciate what's going on. These guys FEEL the music. It's inside their bones. And so it comes off as authentic, genuine.

That's something.

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