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Porgy and Bess

Joe Henderson

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Album Review

In general, Joe Henderson's take on Porgy and Bess meets the high standards of his latter-day records for Verve. Working with arranger Bob Belden and a wonderful combo — including guitarist John Scofield, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette, trombonist Conrad Herwig and vibraphonist Stefon Harris — Henderson brings Gershwin's music to life with subtle beauty and grace. Furthermore, he demonstrates his uniqueness — Henderson's Porgy and Bess may share the same source as Miles Davis' legendary Porgy and Bess, yet it has an original sound, relying less on orchestration than that classic. While this disc is not flawless — instead of enhancing the music, guest spots from vocalists Chaka Khan and Sting actually stop the momentum, calling attention to themselves — it nevertheless is another valuable addition to Henderson's catalog.

Biography

Born: April 24, 1937 in Lima, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Joe Henderson is proof that jazz can sell without watering down the music; it just takes creative marketing. Although his sound and style were virtually unchanged from the mid-'60s, Joe Henderson's signing with Verve in 1992 was treated as a major news event by the label (even though he had already recorded many memorable sessions for other companies). His Verve recordings had easy-to-market themes (tributes to Billy Strayhorn, Miles Davis, and Antonio Carlos...
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