Mark Sherman Quartet’s live album is a 2-disc set that pushes vibraphonist Mark Sherman’s talents to the point of artistic wizard. The life-like pulsations and starry-eyed expressions adorned with a colorful ribbing that Sherman scrolls with his mallets, has a delirious flicker and a refined elegance that is comparable to the tantalizing jazz of art-deco clubs. The bounce in his steps float with the carefree flutter of a butterfly, and the group’s ear for melodic ridges, jumpy rhythms and ruffling patterns offer up fascinating illustrations. Sherman demonstrates the charm and sophistication that a childhood instrument like the vibraphone is capable of making.
Recorded live at the Bird’s Eye in Basil, Switzerland along with pianist Allen Farnham, bassist Dean Johnson, and drummer Tim Horner, the Mark Sherman Quartet Live At The Bird’s Eye has a springboard tempo and manual dexterity that only true cats of blue-ribbon jams can achieve.
Johnson’s bass solo in "There Is No Greater Love" ignites the other instruments into a frenzied rapport and a celebratory jam. The tingling dynamics of "Tip Top Blues" and "Explorations" riles up the instruments energetic cycling and the jumpiness in the rhythmic pulses. The buoyancy of the piano keys on "You Don’t Know What Love Is" stake and crisscross like outer-stellar particles just having some fun. This is one theme that runs through every track, the instrument’s exuberance resonates of having fun, even through the more slowly coasting tunes of "The Winning Life," "Hope," and "Moon River."
The lyrical vibrations of Sherman’s notes have a childlike freedom, a savvy tapping and blazing stiletto jolts as the leafy paddling of the other instruments move around his lead. The complexity of the entangling phrases are reminiscent of Thelonious Monk as the instruments extensions are plated with emotive improvisations displaying modern expressions at the highest level.
The Mark Sherman Quartet creates inspiring jams on their 2-disc set Live At The Bird’s Eye. They show people a level of communication and interaction that is free and impulsive, and yet, completely in harmony. The quartet’s movements are innovative and the solos are totally owned by the musicians delivering them. There is no doubt that when you put these four guys in a room, they light it up to full capacity. The only pyrotechnics you’ll experience is what these guys play from their instruments.