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Eddie Henderson: Reemergence

Douglas Payne By

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Trumpeter Eddie Henderson has recorded more consistently throughout the 1990s (for Steeplechase and Milestone) than he did during the previous decade, so this really isn't a "reemergence" at all. It is, however, among one of his finest albums since what remains his very best - his first two kosimgroovy solo albums, cut for Capricorn in 1973 and inexcusably unavailable ever since.

On Reemergence, Henderson traverses a variety of interesting spaces with Milesian pronouncements that have certainly become his own, rich as they are in provocative emotional mysteries. He heads up an intuitive and resourceful quintet, solidified in sound and temperament over the course of several albums now, and spearheaded by the perceptive and guileless wonderment of Joe Locke's ever-astonishing vibes work. Locked in as the vibraphonist is (forgive the pun) to a simpatico tandem with Kevin Hays's piano, it's surprising how Henderson and Locke dominate the front line. The two reveal an especially appealing compatibility and, quite logically, suggest an exchanging of the rings.

The program itself consists of a 1998 date that resulted in Henderson's Japanese release, Dreams of Gershwin (Keystone). Sharp Nine producer Marc Edleman shuffled the disc's line up, dropped one of the Gershwin tunes and a lengthy intro to another and added the Henderson quintet's unreleased takes on Wayne Shorter's "This Is For Albert" and Woody Shaw's "Sweet Love of Mine."

What's presented here is a particularly well-designed line up featuring (but not dominated by) several takes on popular Gershwin fare (Henderson was also a guest at former boss Herbie Hancock's recent Gershwin tribute on Verve). Stand outs here include the slow funk of "Summertime" and the eloquent, nearly regal "It Ain't Necessarily So." Other highlights include Locke's "Saturn's Child," a haunting piece of moody refinement and both Henderson's two originals: his oft-played "Dreams" (suggesting something Nefertiti -like, especially "Fall") and the brief, no-solos vibes and muted trumpet duet of "Natsuko-san," dedicated to his wife.

Lately, Henderson's double life (he's also a practicing psychiatrist) seems to be allowing more time for music. In between gigs, records and a frequently fascinating variety of recent sessions (including Kenny Barron, Joe Chambers, Roseanne Vitro and Trumpet Legacy), Henderson - now at nearly 60 — is also growing into one of the finest, most enjoyable and increasingly distinctive trumpets sounds around. Reemergence is proof.

Songs:This Is For Albert; Dreams; The Man I Love; Summertime; It Ain't Necessarily So; Embraceable You; Sweet Love Of Mine; Saturn's Child; Natsuko-san.

Players:Eddie Henderson: trumpet; Joe Locke: vibes; Kevin Hays: piano; Ed Hward: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.

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