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A First-Rate Outing by Horn Veteran Henderson

JAZZ | ALBUM REVIEWS

*** EDDIE HENDERSON, "Dark Shadows," Milestone

October 13, 1996|Don Heckman

Trumpeter Eddie Henderson continues to be one of the too-unrecognized players in mainstream jazz. Like many other musicians in his generation (he turns 56 later this month), Henderson's visibility has been largely obscured by the wave of new jazz artists arriving on the scene in the '80s and '90s.

But Henderson is sounding better than ever, as a quick listen to his solo on "El Gaucho," the opening track, will instantly reveal. Facile and articulate, he brings a smooth lyricism to his solos reminiscent of the youthful playing of Art Farmer. On darker tunes such as "Goodbye," "Lament for Booker" (for trumpeter Booker Little), and the title number, Henderson projects a multilayered intensity that marvelously implies as much as it states; here, the connection with Miles Davis is strong.

The album's atmospheric qualities are enhanced by an ensemble that includes vibist Joe Locke and the laid-back rhythm team of Kevin Hays, piano; Ed Howard, bass; and Lewis Nash, drums. This is first-rate modern music from a trumpeter who understands that jazz, in addition to swing, improvisation and blues, is also about mood and storytelling.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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