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Joe Henderson: Mirror, Mirror

Glenn Astarita By

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As anticipated, Germany-based MPS' famed audio engineering expertise—besides its tenure as a prominent jazz record label— lives up to expectations with a superb remastering effort of the 1980 LP led by tenor sax great John Henderson and a band featuring jazz giants, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Ron Carter and drummer, Billy Higgins. The packaging includes the original liners and a photo of the original master tape box.

The 180-gram vinyl offering boasts a detailed soundstage, but more importantly showcases an ensemble that presses all the right buttons amid the respective artists' storied technical gifts and their influential presence within the global jazz community, past and present. Here, the drummer provides a clinic as he lays on top of the beats with crisp accents, snappy bop metrics and paces the group with precision-oriented ride cymbals hits, consummated by his buoyant and near- flawless timekeeping skills.

Henderson's breathy and fluid lines, contrasting inflections and acutely placed dynamics are the ingredients that culminate his authoritative stance, and he can turn an up-tempo piece into a ballad on a nanosecond's notice. Yet, Corea's block chord comping and counterpoint on Carter's piece "Candlelight," is abetted by Higgins' sweeping and delicate brushes across the kit; however, the pianist's unaccompanied solo prior to the Coda is pure icing on the cake.

The quartet navigates through another Carter composition "Keystone," which is constructed on a funky and popping groove, where Corea's extended solo complements Henderson's poetic lines as the band combines a quirky and playful mindset throughout. And the leader's horn of plenty comes at you with full force during his comp "Joe's Bolero," featuring Latin accents and a shimmering pulse.

The band shifts directions with a floating type ballad on the jazz standard "What's New," followed by the Corea penned bop burner, "Blues for Liebestraum." Sure enough Mirror Mirror weathers the sands of time, especially via this crystalline and full-bodied audio uplift, coupled with the musicians' intuitive interactions and egalitarian course of action.

Track Listing: Mirror, Mirror; Candlelight; Keystone; Joe’s Bolero; What’s New; Blues for Liebestraum.

Personnel: Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone; Chick Corea: piano; Ron Carter: bass; Billy Higgins: drums.

Title: Mirror, Mirror | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: MPS


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