Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Jim Snidero & Joe Henderson
The "Sixties" was, in most ways, the most disastrous period in the history of Western Culture. Bad art and horrid architecture. Horrific fashion design (bell bottom jeans!). Incredibly stupid popular movies (Love Story). There was so great Rock and Roll, but most other bled and warped. Classical music never recovered. Jazz almost died, but not quite.
Joe Henderson's Power to the People is a period piece. With tunes like 'Afro-Centric,' and 'Black Narcissus,' Joe was mau-mauing the flack catchers. But there is a jeweler's eye in the jazz composer that sees through the temporal mist. Power was recorded in two sessions in May of 1969, about as by-God sixties a year as ever happened. The second session, on May 29th, included Herbie Hancock on electric piano (another Sixties touch), Ron Carter on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums.
'Black Narcissus' is a very sweet and subtle composition. Hancock's electric piano gives it a mystic landscape sort of feel. Acid, maybe. Carter's bass is genuine architecture. Henderson has a soft quality here that comes as something of a surprise if you just listened to State of the Tenor, as I did this afternoon. It is almost as if he were trying to sing you into a dream.
I chanced upon Jim Snidero in the Penguin Guide. Snidero (a year younger than me, damn it) has been all over the place in the music business. His tribute album of Henderson's music is very strong. Joe Magnarelli plays trumpet, Conrad Herwing (tb); David Hazeltine (p), Dennis Irwin (b), and Kenny Washington (d). It's all lively and good, with a very bright sound. Jazz did indeed survive the sixties.