When his time is not taken up by movie and TV acting assignments, Bill Henderson remains capable of reminding his audiences that he is one of the few totally qualified male jazz singers still extant.
Thursday at the Vine St. Bar & Grill, despite an attendance diminished by the earthquake, he rose above the circumstances to offer the best selected, most persuasively performed set this observer has heard in many years of Henderson-watching.
His timbre still has that oddly grainy quality that has always been a trademark, along with a strange, attractive vibrato that may recall the late Johnny Mercer.
Henderson's phrasing is virtually his own copyright. He tends to space certain words as if the syllables were separated by commas, even semicolons; yet everything winds up as a perfectly constructed sentence. This was particularly evident during "Senor Blues," in which the ominous minor theme by Horace Silver took on a character reminiscent of the original instrumental version.