Joe Henderson: Lush Life
Joe Henderson (tenor sax)
Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn (Verve 314 511 779-2)
Joe Henderson (tenor sax).
Composed by Billy Strayhorn.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 3, 6 & 8, 1991
Rating: 99/100 (learn more)
Joe Henderson was not just a great composer and technician, he was also a fine interpreter of standards. You can find examples of that throughout his career, but it was the major focal point of the final recording period of his life during which he recorded for Verve.
The first Verve project tackled the lofty music of Ellington cohort Billy Strayhorn, using varying band configurations. Right at the end of the record is Henderson alone scaling the most magnificent of Strayhorn compositions, "Lush Life." The melody flows from his horn without any equivocation, the transitions between shapes are effortless and the phrasing is creative but never too cute.
Joe Henderson's flawless solo presentation of "Lush Life" is the kind of performance that only a first-ballot Hall of Fame tenor player can give.
Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron