CD: Benjamin Herman, The London Session

(Roach Records)

British pianist Stan Tracey is rarely a sideman these days, but here his taut trio performs with the excellent Dutch alto saxophonist Benjamin Herman and trombonist Bart Van Lier. It is a 2005 studio set, with repertoire covering four boppish or Latin-grooving Herman originals and three jazz standards. Herman combines up-tempo agility with an attractively bitter tone on long notes and a fondness for vocalised warbles that suggest Art Pepper. Van Lier is a smooth trombonist with a bright sound (though a distracting tendency to early-jazz pastiche). Tracey's zigzagging figures and double-taking silences signify an elder statesman still at his peak. Straightahead, but with kinks.


John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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