Conrad Herwig: Hieroglyphica
Conrad Herwig (trombone)
Hieroglyphica (Criss Cross 1207)
Conrad Herwig (trombone),
Bill Charlap (piano), James Genus (bass), Gene Jackson (drums).
Composed by Conrad Herwig.
Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, January 11, 2001
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
For those who know Conrad Herwig through his work with the Latin Side recordings, Hieroglyphica shows the hip, hard-swinging jazz side of the virtuosic trombonist. This cat can hang in a way few trombonists can. From the very start of his quartet's epic 10-minute journey in and out of tonality and meter, he shows that he can do absolutely whatever he wants with his instrument. Whether it's the low multiphonic roars that begin the tune, the extreme upper-register rips or the interactive improvisation with the full rhythm section, Herwig demonstrates complete control.
The composition layers each member of the quartet in and out of the texture: Herwig spends the first minute all by himself before drummer Gene Jackson sneaks in with out-of-time cymbal rolls and tom hits. Bill Charlap and James Genus don't join the action until three minutes into the tune, but their timing is impeccable as it starts a long, burning run of Herwig's trombone. Charlap and Jackson follow with equally impressive solos before the quartet finally presents the melody--right before the tune draws to a dramatic, cacophonous close.
Reviewer: Alex W. Rodriguez