Praise 4 Joe: tribute to Joe Henderson. Luca Mannutza and Max Ionata retrace the musical story of the great American saxophonist, who died in 2001, in the dry form of the duo, through the famous compositions of Joe Henderson and the mature and personal interpretation of the two musicians. The dimension of the duo leads to reasoning on the structures of the pieces and on the absences: giving the right place to all the elements that make up the writing and the execution. Interpreting in duo the songbook of a composer, of an important musician, becomes a further challenge, in making ends meet the needs of a concert, a recording, a performance.
The music of Jean-Joseph de Mondonville, an immediate successor to Rameau and one of the most prominent members of the Parisian musical scene in the middle 18th century, has not been recorded often. He composed in the major genres of the day, including opera, grand motet, and trio sonata, but the odd little sacred motets featured on this album stand aside from all of these.
This double-CD features consistently ferocious electric guitar from Scott Henderson. Recorded live at La Ve Lee (a small club near Los Angeles), the extended program has Henderson mostly in the spotlight with electric bassist John Humphrey offering strong support and drummer Kirk Covington sometimes contributing rockish vocals that are as much shouting as they are singing. Henderson plays some jazz on Wayne Shorter's "Fee Fi Fo Fum," digs into blues now and then, and displays some country roots on "Hillbilly in the Band" but mostly plays high-intensity fusion, tearing into the pieces and showing that he could hold his own with any rock/fusion guitarist. Invigorating playing.
Blues shouter Henderson was quite a popular jump blues singer on the postwar L.A. scene. His 1945 output for Apollo, collected here, rates with his best; backed by top-drawer sidemen including saxists Lucky Thompson, Wild Bill Moore, and Jack McVea and guitarist Gene Phillips, Henderson's pipes convey the proper party spirit on these 20 swinging sides.