Eric Henderson: Faces

Guitarist Eric Henderson polished his rich, classical sound under the tutelage of none other than Andres Segovia. When this lyric, dark quality shines through on Faces (JMI JMI-700-2; 52:33)-as on the driving strum and strong-fingered, dizzying solo on “Flamenco Surf”-the results are stunning. But for every flamenco-laced “Notaro,” there’s a souped up “Shut Up and Dance,” replete with a scurrying dance beat and ill-advised vocal. Henderson doesn’t have a problem morphing classically-wrought, romantic melodies like “Faces” into anthemic modern textures-so his production team could easily have dispensed with the trappings which bring down “Nights in Boyonne,” distracting rather than enhancing. Album closer “Cowboys in Spain” is lyric, dark and fun, utilizing a string quartet to add drama and tension to Henderson’s strong play. This type of arrangement lifts Henderson’s talents rather than limiting them.