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Virtuoso Lori Bell Pays Homage To Music Titan Joe Henderson On 'Recorda Me: Remembering Joe Henderson'

Virtuoso Lori Bell Pays Homage To Music Titan Joe Henderson On 'Recorda Me: Remembering Joe Henderson'

Courtesy Lori Bell

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On 'Black Narcissus,' Josh Nelson sets the mood beautifully, stroking the piano keys with sensuous arpeggios. Lori Bell brings her alto flute to the party, and it’s warm and comforting as she caresses the Henderson melody.
—Dee Dee McNeil
Lori Bell
Accomplished arranger, virtuoso musician and esteemed educator, Lori Bell returns April 19th with Recorda Me: Remembering Joe Henderson, an extraordinary new collection paying homage to one of the all-time greats, hard bop, jazz icon, Joe Henderson.

Portuguese for “Remember Me,” the 9-song, Recorda Me: Remembering Joe Henderson showcases Bell at her enchanting best, one that the LA Times has dubbed “briskly inventive…gorgeous playing” while Downbeat describes her as “an improvisational shapeshifter.”

“Joe was an exceptional jazz saxophonist and to my heart and mind, a persuasive composer besides. I’ve always admired his artistry and the way he crafted his songs. His unique chord progressions, and use of the major 7th #11 on several tunes, are compelling to me,” offered Bell.

Of the eight compositions Bell chose to honor, all but one are from Henderson’s mid 60s output, including the title track and “Out of the Night,” both from Henderson’s debut album, Page One (1963). Also included are two songs from Henderson’s bewitching third album In ’n Out (“Punjab,” “Serenity”), a pair of spellbinders from his 1966 Inner Urge opus (“Inner Urge,” “Isotope”), “A Shade of Jade,” the beguiling lead cut from his universally acclaimed release, Mode for Joe and “Black Narcissus,” from the 1977 album of the same name.

“On this recording I have tried to pay homage to his musical acumen and articulate imagination. Each arrangement is tailored for the timbre and range of the flute, an unusual instrument to represent Joe Henderson as, unlike the majority of sax players, he rarely played it in public and was not known as a doubler,” said Bell.

Transposing saxophone to flute provided a welcome challenge while allowing Bell to imbue the arrangements with her own sense of artistry. “The process of working with his material began with Serenity, a 4/4 swing tine that I couldn’t get out of head as a 6/4 afro groove, so I went with the idea. While spending hours at the piano and flute studying his various pieces, I realized I might want to record an entire album of Henderson compositions.”

The lone original on Recorda Me is Bell’s “Outer Urge,” a knowing nod and apt complement to Henderson’s 12-minute astral projection on “Inner Urge.” On “Outer Urge,” Bell flavors the excursion with her love of Latin modalities. It’s an exhilarating journey and one she’s explored before with her “Music of Djavan” on the Resonance Records label.

With a father that was a big band trumpeter in NYC for 30 years and a mother that played accordion with a great ear for both jazz and classical music, the Brooklyn native was exposed to the alchemy of improvisation by pillars of the golden era of jazz at places throughout Greenwich Village and lower Manhattan. Over the past several decades, she’s carried the torch forward, establishing herself as an in-demand, world-class performer regularly touring the Western U.S. while also leading seminars and Masterclasses in NYC and beyond.

Accompanying her on her musical journey navigating the majesty of Henderson are pianist Josh Nelson, known for his work with John Pizzarelli, Peter Erskine and Natalie Cole, bassist David Robaire (Larry Goldings, Billy Childs, Jane Monheit), and drummer Dan Schnelle (David Benoit, Karrin Allyson, Billy Childs).

Bell will honor Joe’s lasting legacy throughout the spring with shows throughout California including four hometown shows in San Diego, March 15-June 28, an April 25th date at Sam First in Los Angeles and a very special concert at The Joe Henderson Lab at SF Jazz in San Francisco on Saturday, April 20. The 4/20 show is a part of the annual Joe Henderson Festival to celebrate Henderson’s April 24th date of birth and his love of the city where he resided after leaving NYC in the early 70s, even teaching at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for a stretch.

Inner urge. Outer urge. Serenity out of the night and into the light. Viva Joe Henderson.

Recorda Me: Remembering Joe Henderson

Lori Bell: C flute, Alto flute on #6
Josh Nelson: Piano
David Robaire: Bass
Dan Schnelle: Drums

About the songs

  • Isotope (1966)—Deconstructed blues. Very conversational between the flute and the piano, full of interplay.
  • A Shade of Jade (1966)—Originally composed as a swing tune reimagined as a samba/swing idea.
  • Out of the Night (1963)—Minor blues which features an arranged piano intro with a featured bass solo.
  • Serenity (1965)—Originally a swing tune reimagined as an afro-groove in 6/4.
  • Inner Urge (1966)—Lightbeams with flute and drums with a knowing nod to hip hop.
  • Black Narcissus (1977)—Original intro for piano and features the alto flute.
  • Outer Urge (L. Bell)—Unique 4/4, 7/4, then in 5. Solo section in 5/4, Latin flavoring.
  • Punjab (1965)—Freestyle introduction adding reharm using major 7#5 chords.
  • Recorda Me (1963)—Re-harmonized concept using original bass line. Features a moving chord progression with the solos featuring Joe’s original chord changes.

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Track Listing

Isotope; A Shade of Jade; Out of the Night; Serenity; Inner Urge; Black Narcissus; Outer Urge; Punjab; Recorda Me.

Personnel

Lori Bell
flute
David Robaire
bass, acoustic
Additional Instrumentation

Lori Bell: alto flute (6).

Album information

Title: Recorda Me - Remembering Joe Henderson | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Self Produced


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