Scott Yanow: Keyboardist-composer Mike Herting’s two-CD set Tunes For The Brotherhood with a septet is full of rewarding new music.
In his career thus far, pianist-keyboardist arranger and bandleader Mike Herting has created a fascinating variety of music in many settings. Born in Germany, he started his career leading the jazz-rock group Head Band. He had a longtime association with altoist Charlie Mariano, produced recordings, and was an arranger-composer for the WDR Big Band Cologne. He became known for his ability to fuse Indian and African music with jazz, working with the WDR Radio Orchestra, the London Philharmonic and the Bremen Chamber Philharmonic.
While many of his productions were with large orchestras or for television or theater, the two-CD set Tunes For The Brotherhood features Herting as a keyboardist, performing his own music with a jazz septet. His 17 originals range from soul jazz and funk to strong hints of Indian and African music, all of it either swinging or grooving. The other musicians (trumpeter Matthias Schriefl, altoist and flutist Heiner Wiberny, guitarist Paul Shigihara, bassist Bernd Keul, drummer Bert Smaak and percussionist Ramesh Shotham, with two guest vocals by Fesperanto, are excellent. They are well featured and clearly know Herting’s colorful music quite well.
Mike Herting’s music is filled with memorable melodies, some unusual textures, and plenty of surprises, covering a great deal of musical ground. Tunes For The Brotherhood (which is dedicated to the brotherhood of creative musicians) is well worth exploring.