Awesome 100 CD set containing a plethora of classic Big Band sounds from the era when Benny Goodman's 'Let's Dance' became the motto of an entire country…in fact, the whole world! The Big Band Box takes you from the formation of the original Big Band of Fletcher Henderson to the 17-piece line-up of Stan Kenton's Progressive Jazz. This 100-CD set is a fantastic tour through almost all the big bands / directors of note from the 1930s to 1950.
Even with such strong players as trumpeters Bobby Stark and Rex Stewart, trombonist Benny Morton and tenor-saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, the fortunes of Fletcher Henderson's orchestra were slipping during 1931. With the departure of Don Redman several years earlier, the group's arrangements were less innovative, and the pressure was on to perform commercial songs for the Depression audience. Even the jazz standards (such as "Tiger Rag" and "After You've Gone") are less interesting than those of their competitors, although this new version of "Sugar Foot Stomp" is a classic and the strong solos by the all-star cast make this CD well worth acquiring.
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.
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.
Listening to Sketches of Life is something like finding a diamond midway through a box of Cracker Jack. It starts off with some typically easygoing midtempo quiet storm action that offers more cinders than real fire, but then it suddenly explodes with soul, jazz, and fusion – and some of the leader's finest performances this side of the old Crusaders. Henderson's trombone turbulence finds willing support from friends old (saxman Wilton Felder) and new (Rob Mullins, Dwight Sills), and these all-stars stretch the limits of the pop side of jazz. Especially impressive is Lee Oskar's bluesy, Toots Thielemans-styled harmonica playing. Henderson could do just fine without the rap and chant, but otherwise, he leads a fun-filled cruise through adventureland.