Eddie Henderson is one of those immoderately talented but relatively unsung players who are known as “musicians’ musicians,” mainly because the public at large has almost no idea who they are or what they are capable of doing — which in Henderson’s case is almost anything he pleases, at least on trumpet. The 58–year–old veteran was influenced by Miles Davis, studied informally with Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan, jammed alongside Woody Shaw, and has played with some of the best–known names in Jazz including Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, John Handy and Joe Henderson. On Reemergence, Henderson and his five–year–old working group place their stamp on two of his original compositions (“Dreams,” “Natsuko–san”), one by young vibraphone whiz Joe Locke (“Saturn’s Child”), Wayne Shorter’s “This Is for Albert,” Shaw’s “Sweet Love of Mine,” and four standards by the incomparable George Gershwin including a funky Davis–like treatment (muted) of “Summertime.” Although Henderson is a sharp and perceptive post–bop improviser with awesome technique, the first thing one notices is his pure, bell–like tone, almost flugel–like in the smoothness of its texture, a quality that enables him to sound unhurried even on up-tempo numbers such as “Albert” or the Latinesque “Sweet Love.” Besides “Summertime,” he plays muted on “Embraceable You,” “Saturn’s Child” and the dreamy “Natsuko–san.” Henderson’s choice of a front–line partner is inspired, as the vibraphone adds contrast and shading without engaging the trumpet in a two–horn competition. Locke is a splendid soloist (check out his enlivening choruses on “Albert,” “The Man I Love,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” or “Saturn’s Child”), as is his hardworking and in–demand colleague, pianist Hays (whose every appearance is rewarding). Howard and Drummond round out a tasteful and supportive rhythm section. While Reemergence may not make Henderson a household name, neither will it impair his well–earned reputation.
Track listing: This Is for Albert; Dreams; The Gershwin Suite: The Man I Love, Summertime, It Ain’t Necessarily So, Embraceable You; Sweet Love of Mine; Saturn’s Child; Natsuko–san (56:25).
Eddie Henderson, trumpet; Joe Locke, vibes; Kevin Hays, piano; Ed Howard, bass; Billy Drummond, drums.
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