384

Bill McHenry: Sonic Pressure & Rediscovery

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count








Bill McHenry
Sonic Pressure
Fresh Sound
2007


John McNeil & Bill McHenry
Rediscovery
Sunnyside
2008




Bill McHenry's eclectic sound, blending West Coast cool with the restless interplay of New York's downtown practitioners, has matured into a uniquely personal voice over the past decade and a half. On Sonic Pressure, the tenorist teams up with Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Pete Rende (piano), Matt Penman (bass) and Jeff Williams (drums); recorded live at Fat Cat, the disc gives an accurate portrait of five creative minds at work. One of the nice qualities of Sonic Pressure is that it avoids the urban hypertension so often associated with big city jazz, offering instead a relatively relaxed and unhurried reading of modern life as interpreted through the bell of a horn. On "The Hit," for example, McHenry begins with a breathy, sibilant tone and, leisurely pacing himself, piles on ideas like kindling, finally reaching a smoldering glow; the rhythm section meanwhile takes liberties with the time, creating push and pull, engaging the alto in a 'tri-alogue.' The session is noteworthy for the minimalist but well-conceived arrangements, alternation of free and composed sections and high level of combo compatibility and interactivity.

Rediscovery, which McHenry co-leads with his former teacher and mentor John McNeil, is an extension of the latter's previous release, East Coast Cool, which also combined elements of free improv and cool. A pianoless quartet with Joe Martin (bass) and Jochen Rueckert (drums), the group's configuration leaves plenty of elbow room in the mix, an opportunity that McHenry and McNeil fully exploit by lacing implied reharmonizations into their improvised lines, or by abandoning harmonic constraints altogether. The set list exhumes and revitalizes a number of lesser-known gems, including George Wallington's "Godchild," Russ Freeman's "Band Aid" and "Happy Little Sunbeam" (McNeil sounds like he's chuckling to himself as he plays over it), Leo Diamond's "Off Shore" and Wilbur Harden's "Rhodomagnetics." McHenry's playing is subtle and mercurial, providing an excellent foil for McNeil's masterfully concise and well-wrought solo statements.


Tracks & Personnel

Sonic Pressure

Tracks: Night Owl; The Hit; Pollack Springs; Wru; The Losers; Felix; Clubs.

Personnel: Bill McHenry: tenor saxophone; Duane Eubanks: trumpet; Pete Rende: piano; Matt Penman: bass; Jeff Williams.

Rediscovery

Tracks: Rediscovery; Godchild; Band Aid; Off Shore; Rhodomagnetics; Soft Shoe; Happy Little Sunbeam; I'll Get By; Marvos Manny; Time Travel.

Personnel: John McNeil: trumpet; Bill McHenry: tenor saxophone; Joe Martin: bass; Jochen Rueckert: drums.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Guitars on Three Continents Multiple Reviews Guitars on Three Continents
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana Multiple Reviews Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe 2 Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Emanem Tidies Up" Multiple Reviews Emanem Tidies Up
by John Eyles
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976"" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel" Multiple Reviews Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel
by Doug Collette
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon" Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio" Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…" Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A DONATION  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!