Herlin Riley

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On Herlin Riley's debut as a leader, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's drummer enlisted the services of fellow LCJO band members, trumpeter Ryan Kisor, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, saxophonist Victor Goines, pianist Farid Barron, and bassist Rodney Whitaker, to perform nine Riley originals and one by Whitaker, a heartfelt tribute to pianist John Lewis. Whether it be second line, swing, or Latin, Riley plays it and plays it well, having learned many of the grooves while growing up in New Orleans. Kisor appears on only two selections, the hard bopping "New York Walk" and the finger popping "Soscalalah Blues," but makes the most of both appearances, while Goines stands out on both tenor and baritone saxophones. Other favorites include the title track, which alternates between a variation of the second line beat and swing, and "Myrosa's Mirage," a medium swinger in 5/4 with a 6/4 bridge. This is an excellent debut from a veteran musician that was worth waiting for.

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