Conrad Herwig

Hieroglyphica

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Conrad Herwig follows up Unseen Universe with another all-original set, this time paring down to a quartet. It's not common for a trombonist to lead a small-group session as the only horn, but Herwig, with his technical facility, expressiveness, and timbral range, is uniquely capable of doing so. The pianist on the date is Bill Charlap, who's been gaining a reputation as a traditionalist and a champion of standard tunes. What he does here with Herwig's expansive harmonies and forms makes clear that he's not so easily pigeonholed. Bassist James Genus and drummer Gene Jackson complete the formidable lineup, generating heat ("Hieroglyphica," "Island of the Day Before") and light ("The Orange Dove," "Solar Circle") in perfect proportion. On "Quiet Mountain," Herwig and Charlap perform as a duo, with celestial results.

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