Todd Herbert: I'm Down


I'm Down


Todd Herbert (tenor sax)


The Tree of Life (Metropolitan MR 1128)

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Todd Herbert (tenor sax),

Anthony Wonsey (piano), Dwayne Burno (bass), Jason Brown (drums)


Composed by Todd Herbert


Recorded: New York, October 29, 2007


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

This CD's notes claim that Herbert "takes John Coltrane as a point of departure in presenting his own music," but Herbert seems to have not yet left the station marked "Late-'50s Trane." The track "I'm Down," for example, is a slow blues reminiscent of "Blue Train." With a deep, mournful sound, Herbert repeats the theme once before initiating his solo. His lines are languid for the most part, with an occasional spark that never really ignites. Herbert's phrases flow, his attack is varied, but it all comes across like secondhand Coltrane—above average technically, but not at all original. Pianist Wonsey's contribution is two-sided. His comping for Herbert is stiff and sounds like it's being played on an out-of-tune piano, yet his bluesy, vigorous solo holds one's interest. Bassist Burno's improv is just adequate, while Brown's statement on drums is more engaging. All in all, Herbert, who toured with Charles Earland and worked with Freddie Hubbard, has a long way to go before anyone can definitively say that he has developed into a saxophonist with an individual style or approach.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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