The L.A. Sessions

A native of the Bronx, vibraphonist Mark Sherman has been on the scene for three decades and with this CD, has eight albums out. Among his career stats are the six years he spent accompanying Peggy Lee in the ‘80s and working with guitarist Larry Coryell in the ‘90s. Sherman recorded this with—as he puts it—"three of L.A.'s finest musicians": Bill Cunliffe, Hammond B3; John Chiodini, guitar; and Charles Ruggiero, drums—definitely not your standard quartet. An admirer of bebop, Sherman’s chosen some classic examples of the form and he and his associates give each of the nine tunes (with alternate takes of three serving as “bonus tracks") a terrific reading. True to the bebop canon, the tempos are mostly fast, and often involve eight-bar chase choruses at the end—a nifty device that lets the drummer participate on equal footing. Ruggiero is, in fact, a marvel in this regard for, instead of following what seems to be the de rigueur practice for drummers these days, he supports the group rather than competes with it. The tunes? Gillespie’s up-tempo “Woody ‘n You;” Parker’s relaxed “Quasimodo;” roaring versions of Miles Davis’ “The Serpent’s Tooth” and Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice.” Sherman has a great tone and is heard to good effect on Milt Jackson’s classic “Bags’ Groove.” Recommended!