Listening to the music of tenor saxophonist Paul Carr, one recognizes that he has completely imbued the music of the late Joe Henderson, to whom he pays tribute on Musically Yours: Remembering Joe Henderson. Growing up in Texas under the spell of such "Texas Tenors" as Don Wilkerson and Arnett Cobb, Carr developed a big blusey tone.
Carr uses this to great effect as he draws the funk and blues out of the Henderson's compositionsperforming them quite differently from how the Lima, Ohio native would have done. Aiding Carr in his efforts is a very tight outfit that features pianist Mulgrew Miller and trumpeter Terell Stafford, and is buoyed by bassist Michael Bowie and drummer Lewis Nash.
Carr mixes two originals and three standards with five exceptional Henderson pieces. "Musically Yours" and "Classroom Agenda" display Carr's familiarity with the Henderson vernacular: straight-ahead hard bop and post bop. "Mamacita" and "Black Narcissus" frame Henderson's affinity for the deep Latin vibe and his technically brilliant balladry. Carr and Miller perform a duet on the latter song; the impressionism of the pair dazzles and lays the foundation for the recording.
"Granted" and "Y Todavia LaQuiero" both incandescent Henderson charts also provide vital fuel for Carr and Stafford. Stafford spits mercury on his "Granted," solo and gives notice that he is also a master of Coltrane-like sheets of tenor. On "Y Todavia LaQuiero" Carr opens the piece with a complex solo introduction that leads into the famous descending-ascending figure of Henderson's masterpiece.
Cole Porter's "Night and Day" and Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now" offer Carr a platform for hard big-toned action. On the former, Lewis Nash provides the Latin swing time in his ride cymbal while Miller's percussive piano approach perfectly augments Carr's tenor. On the latter, Carr performs solo, reminiscent of Art Pepper's solo pieces of the late 1970s.
Musically Yours is all class Paul Carr arrives in style with the right repertoire and the right company with which to perform. Moreover he pays wonderful homage to Joe Henderson. Look for this disc mentioned on best-of-year lists.
Personnel: Paul Carr: tenor saxophone; Terell Stafford: trumpet; Mulgrew Miller: piano; Michael Bowie: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.