Uptown Shuffle

Vincent Herring, The Uptown Shuffle, Smoke Sessions ***1/2

Opening with a flurry alto sax hard-hitter Vincent Herring turns up the gas and drummer Joe Farnsworth simply scorches through Herring’s own tune ‘Elation’ on this quartet outing recorded at Smoke in April last year, with pianist Cyrus Chestnut, who has written the infectiously bluesy title track, and bassist Brandi Disterheft completing the line-up. Herring was best known for his work with Nat Adderley and he also toured with the late Horace Silver, and played for many Christmas stints at the Village Vanguard with another fallen great Cedar Walton. This is a record where all that old school bandstand experience counts and if you are a hard-to-please hard bop fan fear not you’ll want to sit back and let all this sheer expertise delivered by Herring and co wash all over you. It’s slightly odd, however, that there is an intermission announcement at the end of Duke Pearson’s ‘Big Bertha’ (the band never come back as it’s the final track). However, the wave after wave of​​ confident playing on the rest of the album oozing charm and demonstrating a big heart for instance on the Gershwins’ ‘Love Walked In’ and ‘Tenderly’ more than makes up for the oddity, Herring’s warm tone enough to melt a passing iceberg. SG​