By Scott Yanow A major new talent, trumpeter Anthony Hervey, who recorded with the Christian…
By Scott Yanow
A major new talent, trumpeter Anthony Hervey, who recorded with the Christian McBride Big Band in 2019, makes his recording debut as a leader with Words From My Horn. On this modern hard-bop set, Hervey is joined by the fiery young alto saxophonist Sarah Hanahan, pianist Isaiah J. Thompson, bassist Philip Norris and drummer Miguel Russell.
The uptempo opener, “Crystal Stair,” is hot from the start with the leader’s blazing trumpet, a fevered statement from Hanahan and a fluent piano solo. Hervey composed 10 of the dozen selections on this set, including a soulful “The Rust From Yesterday’s Blues,” which contains a touch of “Freedom Jazz Dance” and is highlighted by the two horns trading off; the offbeat rhythmic piece “Neither Here Nor There”; and the cooking “Afro Power.” Pianist Sean Mason guests on “Du Rag,” contributing some stride piano in a duet with Hervey, although the trumpet playing is perhaps a touch too modern for this look back at a past style.
Hervey sticks to the melody on the two numbers that he did not compose, playing muted on “But Beautiful” and open on a reverential treatment of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” He also sings effectively on “Smoky Cloud,” a tribute to his grandmother, and swings hard on the other selections.
Although he hints now and then at Clifford Brown and Wynton Marsalis, Hervey already has his own musical personality, going for broke in a fearless style that is quite stirring. The same qualities can be found in Hanahan’s playing. With Thompson contributing consistently colorful solos and Norris and Russell providing stimulating accompaniment, Words From My Horn is certainly an impressive first effort.