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Herbie Mann


As with some other folks I know, every time I hear Herbie Mann’s name I remember one of the worst jazz solos ever recorded—hisscreechy outburst on Sarah Vaughan’s “Lullabye of Birdland.” And the news that, 40 years later, he’s founded his own label—and that it’s based in Santa Fe and named after an ancient Indian fertility god —isn’t gonna send too many people running down to the record store. But if jazz-lite is part of your diet, you can do worse than Deep Pocket. Mann’s had the good sense to surround himself with first-rate talent—Les McCann, Roy Ayers, Fathead Newman—and the choice of tunes, all covers, is good background for a Beltway commute. McCann gives up a soulful “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” and classics like “Mercy Mercy Mercy” and Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’ ” are virtually indestructible.