Michael Herring's Vertigo Dark Materials

Bassist/composer Michael Herring is growing, evolving and getting stronger, as evidenced by this second CD with his group Vertigo. "Exciting New Food for Dust Mites" gets right down to business with a captivating melody, really strong bass solo and a twisting tenor solo from the always on-the-money Quinsin Nachoff. "Dark Materials" does some intriguing things with rhythmic crosstalk during the line and then pensive guitar work by Don Scott, and some electrifying alto by guest David Binney. Herring's compositions have developed too, becoming riskier, more contrapuntal and less unison-based, like on "Bearings on Cair Paravel," with robust trombone-liness from William Carn and loose-limbed groove thwacking supplied by the consistently responsive Nick Fraser. Benefiting from extensive live work shopping, the tunes have not an iota of tentativeness. Delicate parts come across with strength, as on "What Colour is the Pacific?" Herring's demanding charts are played with the kind of brawny self-confidence audiences love to see in live performance, which is where you should catch this group at your earliest opportunity. (Romhog)