I do believe, two of the albums that have been in my music rotation for a few weeks. Now highlight my eclectic taste in music. One is the latest from jazz saxophonist Vincent Herring, while the other is from a bluegrass band Trout Steak Revival. While I don’t think I am alone with my live for both these genres of music, I would think I am in the minority.
Anyway here is my take on the first of these two albums.
Hard Times – Vincent Herring
The first time I listened to this album the two other instruments that stood out besides Vincent’s saxophone were the guitar and piano.
The other day when I looked closely at the album cover I discovered why! The pianist is none other than the great Cyrus Chestnut. While the guitar is provided by the equally great Russell Malone.
Cyrus Chestnut is part of the quintet that forms the core of the band on Hard Times. The other band mates are Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Carl Allen on drums.
Russell Malone is only one of the numerous guest artists who joined Herring on the album. Other guests a include horn section of trumpeter Brad Mason, saxophonist Sam Dillon and trombone virtuoso (and Smoke Sessions labelmate) Steve Turre. These artist appear on about half of the album’s tracks. Malone appears on three tracks, as does, vocalist Nicolas Bearde.
Herring in the Creation of Hard Times
Herring says the following about his thoughts regarding the creation of the Hard Times.
”It’s the theme of the times that we’re going through,” he explained, pointing out that, at the time of this writing, the possibility of nuclear war loomed large in media discourse. “The obvious red elephant in the room would be politics. So it’s hard times not necessarily just from my vantage point, but from looking at world events. At the same time, I do realize how blessed and fortunate I am to be living the life I’m living. I have a lot of real fans that support me and a lot of great people in my life; I have wonderful kids. This album will hit people in different ways, but I offer it as an uplifting piece for the hard times in the universe.”
I have really enjoyed Hard Times. While I like the instrumental tracks the most, I think that Nicolas Bearde did a great job with the vocals on “Use Me”, “Summertime” and “Embraceable You” “Use Me” is the favorite among the three tracks.
So while Nicolas did a great job on his three tracks, the three true stars of the album are Misters Herring, Chestnut and Malone. While Malone only plays on three tracks his guitar work always catches my attention! Cyrus Chestnut USB rock solid throughout the album as are the rhythm section of Nakamura and Carl Allen.
Here’s “Hard Work” the opening track from Hard Times