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Vincent Herring: Night and Day

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Alto saxophonist Vincent Herring references Cannonball Adderley and other formative influences and mentors on Night and Day, a bracing live-in-the-studio album. The disc, something of a successor to 2013’s The Uptown Shuffle, is buoyant hard bop of the variety Herring perfected during the near-decade he spent sharing the frontline with Nat Adderley in the cornetist’s quintet.

Here, as in the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band, Herring’s fellow horn man is trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. They play in unison and harmonize on the start-stop theme of opener “Grind Hog’s Day” before the leader takes his first solo, mixing measured melodic lines with breakneck flurries of notes, an approach Pelt takes as well. The two also make effective partners on Herring’s “The Adventures of Hyun Joo Lee,” which alternates between hard-driving swing and an ostinato section, and Donald Byrd’s “Fly, Little Bird, Fly.” Two pieces nod to a longtime employer of Herring’s, the late pianist Cedar Walton: pianist Mike LeDonne’s color-shifting “Walton,” and Walton’s own “Theme for Jobim,” its lilting melody sounded by Herring and echoed by Pelt. A playful blues, “Smoking Paul’s Stache,” closes the set.

Pelt steps out and Herring leads a quartet on several other tunes, including the title track, which showcases his burnished amber tone and high-flying improvisational abilities; the sinewy ballad “The Gypsy”; and a commanding take on Cannonball Adderley’s “Wabash,” another opportunity for Herring to unleash streams of long, loose solo lines. Throughout, LeDonne, bassist Brandi Disterheft and drummer Joe Farnsworth supply exemplary rhythm-section support, beefy but flexible in all the right places, and enhancing the forward motion of Herring’s dynamic material.

Originally Published