"THE PATH TO INFINITY"
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We all have our heroes and role models, and it becomes evident John Coltrane is tenor saxophonist Todd Herbert's musical model.
Herbert sounds more like John Coltrane than Coltrane's flesh and blood tenor-playing son, Ravi. I think Herbert's Coltrane-like phrasing and attack may stem from their similar spiritual cores. All of Herbert's compositions here -- with one exception -- have a strong metaphysical root. Those include "The Eternal Void," "The Path to Infinity," "Cosmic Consciousness," and "The People's Oracle."
On six of the seven tracks, Herbert uses pianist George Colligan, bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Darrin Becket. On Sonny Rollins' "Decision," a flowing blues tune, Herbert is with David Hazeltine, piano; Joe Farnsworth, drums and bassist John Webber.
I'm not going to criticize this young man for sounding like Coltrane; I'm just going to sit back, relax and enjoy his music.
"BLUE NOTE SESSIONS"
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This is exciting jazz music. It's the energy, it's the jazz violin so well integrated here with the top jazz practitioners.
Violinist Nigel Kennedy is the main attraction, a young man who was schooled in the classical violin tradition but who also was allowed to breathe in all the jazz around him. As a student at the Menhuin School of Music, Kennedy was lectured by famed jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.
What a rhythm section he has pulled in around him. Ron Carter on bass and drummer Jack DeJohnette working with pianist Kenny Werner and organist Lucky Peterson. Tenor saxophonists Joe Lovano and J.D. Allen make their presence felt. Peterson's Hammond B-3 organ is vital to the opener, "Midnight Blue," as Kennedy immediately establishes his jazz credentials with the listener.
Raul Midon vocalizes Lonnie Liston Smith's "Expansions" with the verve Smith himself would. He accompanies himself on guitar with Kennedy, Peterson and percussionist Daniel Sadownick driving the tempo.
Perhaps the prettiest track is Duke Pearson's "After the Rain." Kennedy and Lovano work together in the beginning, then with Lovano stepping back, Kennedy solos, hands it back to Lovano before joining forces once again at the close.
"FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY"
MIKE LONGO TRIO
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Inspired and mentored by famed jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, Mike Longo has gone on to become a top notch pianist and musician.
His program is mostly standards like "Dancing in the Dark," "It Could Happen to You," "Laura," and "Tenderly" but all performed with his own groove. That groove is accentuated by the work of bassist Paul West and drummer Jimmy Wormworth. At 3:49, "Dancing in the Dark" is too brief, leaving me wanting more.
Longo's treatment of "Tenderly," one of Peterson's standbys, should earn him solid praise from his mentor.
MEL MARTIN-BENNY CARTER
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The six tracks here are those which were unreleased from a 1994 session at Oakland's Yoshi's by legendary composer-saxophonist Benny Carter and his friend, saxophonist Mel Martin.
Clearly, the younger Martin is in better "voice." After all, Carter was nearing 87 at the time. However, Carter was still swinging and stronger than anyone has a right to expect.
My favorite cut is "Perdido" which leaps out in strong bebop fashion propelled by an excellent rhythm section of pianist Roger Kellaway, bassist Jeff Chambers and drummer Harold Jones. Martin's flute is gorgeous on the next track with the ballad "People Time."
Dick Bogle hosts a weekly jazz radio show 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays on 89.1 FM KMHD. He can be reached at email@example.com.