Herlin ON RECORD ESSENTIAL albums
Ahmad Jamal Live At The Montreal Jazz Festival 1985 (1986)
A brisk, energetic live set from Jamal, accompanied by bassist James Cammack, Seldon Newton on percussion, and Riley on drums. The interaction between all the musicians is inventive and articulate with Riley cutting a snappy solo in ‘Footprints’.
Junko Onishi Trio Live At The Village Vanguard (1994)
In pianist Junko Onishi’s trio, Riley was able to play with his favourite bassist, Reginald Veal, and the chemistry between the three players is impressive. They swing hard through Mingus’ ‘So Long Eric’ and Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue Skies’. LiveAtThe
followed in 1995. VillageVanguardII
Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis Joe Cool’s Blues (1995)
Wynton and his father Ellis Marsalis tackle the songs that pianist Vince Guaraldi wrote for the 1960s’ CharlieBrown cartoons alongside seven originals. The sort of an album that can be a gateway for people who don’t habitually listen to jazz, it’s bright, breezy and playful.■
Wynton Marsalis Blood On The Fields (1997)
The epic BloodOnTheFields tells the story of two Africans forced into slavery, one a prince, the other a commoner, and their struggle for freedom. The music is variously soulful, bluesy, angry, orchestral, and uplifting. Riley’s second line rhythms in ‘Juba And A Brown Squaw’ embody classic New Orleans drumming.
Wynton Marsalis Standard Time Vol. 6: Mr Jelly Lord (1999)
Marsalis pays tribute to the first great jazz composer with this collection of standards written by Jelly Roll Morton. Given that Morton started his career in the bordellos of Storyline, New Orleans, the music is full of swagger and strut giving Riley the opportunity to channel the early Dixieland style. ■
Cassandra Wilson Silver Pony (2010)
A mixture of live and studio performances from the jazz vocalist that opens with a breathless performance of ‘Lover Come Back To Me’ with a brushes solo from Riley. ‘Went Down To St James Infirmary’ gives the standard a funky makeover, and The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ has never sounded more soulful.
Herlin Riley New Direction (2016)
The //New Direction// of the title refers not to a change in sound, but to Riley embracing the bandleader’s role. There’s melodic hard bop in the title track and ‘The Big Banana’, a kaleidoscope of rhythms in ‘Connection To Congo Square’, and the irrepressible bounce of ‘Tootie Ma’.