Joe Henderson Sextet The Blue Note, NYC
Hot on the heels of his wonderful 1996 release "Joe Henderson's Big Band," the tenor man brought a smooth sounding group into New York's Blue Note for a week of swing. Featuring Rene Rosnes on piano, Al Foster on drums, George Mraz on bass, Conrad Herwig on trombone and Diego Urcola on trumpet, Henderson was able to maintain his sly, witty sense of playing and arranging while letting the fine work of Foster and Mraz drive the group. Mixing old gems like "Isotope" and "Record a me" in with newer, yet to be named tunes, the tenor great kept a very nice pace throughout the set. Hopefully, Rosnes will become a fixture with Henderson. They had a very warm, complimentary sound which was only helped by the superb work of the rest of the rhythm section. The rest of this front line was stellar. Herwig, still enjoying critical acclaim due to his outstanding "Latin Side of John Coltrane" record was in fine form, reaching notes that most 'bone players dream of, while Urcola, a player that this listener was not hip to was lyrical and fleet at the same time. As for the work of the leader, I should say that I've been a big fan of Henderson's from the outset. That being said, his work was truly beautiful to behold. A mix of forceful bursts with a dance of melody. Joe sounded great.