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Jim Snidero: The Music of Joe Henderson

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What a great date. Bold yet restrained, and ranging from the exotically brassy “Punjab” to the contemplative “Serenity,” it provides a fresh look at the compositional span of the great Joe Henderson. The master’s “tunes” are anything but toss-offs. Indeed, they continue to challenge even the most sophisticated players. Here, alto saxophonist Jim Snidero and friends prove equal to the task. In fact, thanks to Snidero’s probing sextet charts, we get yet another perspective on such Henderson classics as “Inner Urge” and “Recorda-Me.”

Snidero, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, trombonist Conrad Herwig, pianist Dave Hazeltine, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Kenny Washington are key members of New York’s turbo-charged, post-bop acoustic scene. Their hand-in-glove simpatico recalls the best of the 1960s Blue Note recordings, many of which featured Henderson. The inspired soloing is also impressive. So, too, the tasteful restraint of the rhythm section. Special kudos go to the joined-at-the-hip time-keeping of Irwin and Washington, and to Snidero for a great idea effectively realized.