Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eddie Henderson: For All We Know

Furthermore Recordings
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: For All We Know

Eddie Henderson, who plays trumpet and flugelhorn, is another of the jazz national treasures still active in his 70s.

If a character with his background and experience were concocted for a book or movie, the audience would find it difficult to believe: His first trumpet lesson came from Louis Armstrong; one of his childhood friends was Miles Davis; and his mother and her twin sister were members of the original Cotton Club chorus line, when Fats Waller was playing there.

Henderson studied music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, earned a degree in zoology from UC Berkley, studied medicine at Howard University, served his residency in psychiatry and practiced general medicine for 10 years.

And he performed with jazz groups during this period.

His first musical break occurred with one of Herbie Hancock’s groups and, over the years, Henderson has been a part of units led by Hancock, Art Blakey and other name artists. Henderson also has led his own groups from time to time.

The quartet featured here includes guitarist John Schofield, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Billy Drummond. Note the absence of a pianist; Henderson has performed previously with Schofield, and neither felt the need for a keyboard instrument in this album.
Eddie composed two of the eight tracks (“Sand Storm” and “Popo”); the rest are covers of tunes that have a special meaning to him. “Jitterbug Waltz,” written by Waller, was featured in an old film (Henderson’s mother was seated next to Fats on the piano bench); and “Cantaloupe Island” is one of the songs that made Hancock famous. Henderson’s wife, Natsuko, wrote “Be Cool”; and “Missing Miles” is a tribute to Miles Davis, written by Al Foster.
The rest of the menu includes songs often played by artists Henderson has worked with. His renditions of “For All We Know” and “By Myself” are particularly noteworthy; his style is laid-back, funky at times, and his tone and phrasing are pure jazz.
We all should be as blessed in our chosen fields, at his age, as Henderson.

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