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Vincent Herring: Scene One

This album, recorded in 1988, was Herring’s debut as a leader. His debt to the late Cannonball Adderley is not as pronounced here as on subsequent albums. In fact, his alto playing sometimes exhibits a “possession” reminiscent of Sonny Fortune and John Coltrane. This is especially true on “Elation,” a fast-paced original, and on a blistering “What Is This Thing Called Love.”

Much of the excitement of this album can be attributed to drummer Jack DeJohnette, who pushes everyone to greater heights of creativity with his aggressive, interactive approach. Darrell Grant’s splashy piano chords and flighty runs and Robert Hurst III’s strong bass lines are also part of the inspired rhythmic dynamics. This album, originally released on the Japanese Somethin’ Else label, reminds us how fully formed Herring was from the beginning.

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