Herbie Mann

Sultry Serenade

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For five of the eight cuts here, Mann has a sextet that sports an intriguing sonority -- his flute stands alongside such underappreciated masters as the baritone saxophonist/bass clarinetist Jack Nimitz, trombonist Urbie Green and guitarist Joe Puma. No less a great bassist than Oscar Pettiford lays down the low-end law, while drummer Charlie Smith proves an expert with brushes on drums and cymbals. There are also three quartet dates sans Green and Nimitz. This is most definitely very fine post-bop modern jazz, with a harmonic twist or turn here and there. Mann has a pied-piper-like approach during his lone composition "Let Me Tell You," a head-nodding swing over an easy tempo. On Mann's spooky arrangement for the standard ballad "When the Sun Comes Out," the bass clarinet of Nimitz cues Smith's cymbal washes, with Green's trombone and Mann's whooshy flute making inquiring statements as the guitar embellishes with slightly wrought chords. Mann switches to bass clarinet on "Lazy Bones," paced as its title says. Nimitz is on a throaty Gerry Mulligan-esque bari with Green, collectively attaining a low-end growl, sounding like they're all ready to pounce, as Puma's snappy solo grounds the strike force. Mann (on flute) and Puma lead the easygoing Tyree Glenn-penned title track, with Nimitz's bass clarinet traipsing on eggshells for this dainty melody. The quartet tracks include "Swingin' 'Til the Girls Come Home," which proves the ultimate vehicle for Mann's lyricism, Puma's improvisational expertise, and those typical tall round notes from genius Pettiford. This date should not be forgotten as one of Herbie Mann's best.

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