Friday, October 29, 2010

Eddie Henderson - For All We Know (Furthermore, 2010)

Trumpeter Eddie Henderson first made his mark in jazz playing Miles Davis influenced fusion with Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band and then on his own early recordings as a leader. During the last several years he has returned to a more or less mainstream straight ahead jazz format. Joining him on this album are John Scofield on guitar, Doug Weiss on bass and Billy Drummond on drums. Opening with the Fats Waller classic “Jitterbug Waltz” they develop the music in a slow and graceful manner at a medium tempo, letting the tension grow before the band plays the familiar melody. Scofield continues to hint at the melody while improvising off of it in his solo spot. “Be Cool” has a medium-up feel with a nice rhythm set by Drummond. Melodically well controlled trumpet with nice guitar accompaniment, giving way to a cool toned guitar solo. The music swings nicely to a bass and drums feature. Shifting into ballad mode, the title track “For All We Know” has spare and longing trumpet accompanied by gentle brushes. The song develops at a spare, melodic pace with a touch of rainy day melancholy. Subtle drumwork opens “By Myself” with Scofield entering and turning hot in his solo space, followed by Weiss’ feature of a thick, strong bass solo. Henderson’s punchy trumpet pulls the whole group together for the conclusion, buoyed by excellent percussion. Herbie Hancock’s wonderful composition “Cantaloupe Island” is one of the highpoints of the album, with the group swinging into the wonderful melody led by strong and jousting trumpet. Scofield takes a great solo, playing bright and strong with just a hint of funkiness, before the strongly melodic full band returns to take the tune out. Henderson’s guiding star as a trumpet player has always been Miles Davis, and he expresses his admiration on the track “Missing Miles.” That opens slow and spare featuring atmospheric breathy trumpet. Patient, bluesy guitar and haunted brass make for a very atmospheric performance. Things bounce back to an upbeat conclusion with “Popo,” played at a funky uptempo beat with gently swinging trumpet and guitar. The band develops a nice mid-tempo full band improvisation. This was a very solid and continually interesting album of mainstream jazz. The veteran musicians sounded excellent (especially Scofield, who I continue to prefer as a sideman rather than leader.) and the choice of compositions is interesting and show the band is a variety of different settings and speeds. For All We Know -

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