An Eloquent Tribubute to Billy Strayhorn
Brian D. Fitzpatrick | Medford, MA | 01/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Joe Henderson Quintet
Joe Henderson:Tenor Sax
(born Nov.29,1915,Dayton,Ohio,-died May 31,1967,New York,N.Y.)
Strayhorn got his first recognition after he approached Duke Ellington with a composition in 1938,soon after,he was regularly contributing arrangments and original compositions.In 1941 Strayhorn's 'Take the 'A'
Train' became the the Duke Ellington Orchestra's theme song.As has been well documented "his work so complimented Ellingtons that it was often impossible to distinquish their respective contributions".Strayhorn was a master of the ballad,and this is well documented by several tunes in this set.His compositions exhibit a structural and harmonic sophisticatiion which he made as his trade mark and signature voice throughout his tenure,before his sudden and tragic death in 1967.
This is one of those albums were everything comes together:from the engineering,production to the peformance.
Joe's playing is stellar,very heartfelt,and crisp.The whole band sounds like they have been playing for years.The format is a unique one.We have a Tenor,bass duet-Tenor,piano,bass trio,a Quartet setting and Quintet settings and finaly capping the set off with a solo rendition of 'Lush Life'.The rhythm section,a young one,plays exceptionally throughout,and also contribute excellent solos..Highlights for me were 'Blood Count',Joes pathos here is over the top.On the Quintet sides 'Johnny One Note',Wynton smokes this one,also,'A Flower Is a Lonesome Thing',and "U.M.M.G.",you should carefully note the rhythm sections fluid and constantly inventive approach,spurring on Henderson and Marsalis throughout.A gem.We also may consider this a tribute to the great tenor giant JOE HENDERSON.God speed to both of them.A real gem.Enjoy"
My Kind of Jazz
Nikica Gilic | 06/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having heard Strayhorn's music performed by Ellington, Hodges, Gillespie, Coltrane, Hartman, Torme (and others), I was quite curious what would Henderson do, joined by Wynton Marsalis and some other young lions in the rhythm section, notably Stephen Scott on piano, Christian McBride on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums, a more than suitable line-up to join Henderson and Marsalis.
This is BEAUTIFUL.
Since so many people wrote fine descriptions of this music, I'll just add that I agree with most of them. The music is imaginative, tradition-consciouss and swinging, like some sort of lyrical version of Charlie Mingus. Henderson's solo rendition of "Lush Life" is obvious favorite of the album but the number of great performances on this album is indeed great (listen, for example to lovely "Lotus Blossom", played in duet with Stephen Scott...)
They say this album sold well (partly due to marketing); I don't like financial pressures on art, but when great artists earn some money it kinda pleases me...
I feal this is far more subtle jazz "hit" than some other popular jazz records I don't care to mention at this point out of sheer respect for the work of this fine group (or these fine groups, since the musicians play in various combinations; from Henderson's solo to full quintet, with Henderson being the only one playing on all songs).
A treasure from joe henderson.
fluffy, the human being. | forest lake, mn | 08/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i've heard many joe henderson albums, and they are all excellent. don't know of a bad one. but this disc is really special. from the opening duo with bassist christian mcbride on the great composition "Isfahan," right through the stunning album closer: a solo saxophone version of "Lush Life," mr henderson takes this glorious batch of billy strayhorn melodies and adds his own special soulful beauty to their essence. each tune provides a backbone for some very heartfelt exploration. i would call this a must-have for all jazz fans."