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Conrad Herwig: Heart of Darkness

Maybe I’m suffering from virtuosity overkill, but I have to say that while this album reaches me intellectually it rarely reaches me emotionally. Herwig, a trombonist who has been performing with Joe Henderson, has chops to burn. He plays high and fast, with a clean, full tone and lots of rhythmic energy. Technically, he sometimes reminds me of the way trumpeter Freddie Hubbard used to sound in his early Blue Note days. Walt Weiskopf, on tenor and soprano saxophone, is a blustery, Brecker-out-of-Coltrane player. And Stefon Harris, the other frontline partner, suggests Herbie Hancock translated to vibes. Pianist Bill Charlap, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Billy Drummond complete the sextet.

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