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Scott Henderson/Jeff Berlin/Dennis Chambers : HBC

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As power trios go, it doesn’t get much more powerful than guitarist Scott Henderson, bassist Jeff Berlin and drummer Dennis Chambers. Like an update of the McLaughlin/Pastorius/Williams “Trio of Doom,” HBC succeeds by putting musicality above its overwhelming technical skills-only far better than that hit-and-miss collective did.

On HBC, this trio opts for mostly modern standards by the fusion era’s elite composers. Berlin’s serpentine bassline and Henderson’s keyboard mimicry highlight Herbie Hancock’s opening “Actual Proof.” Wayne Shorter gets his due as well: Henderson’s spacey intro and Chambers’ combustible drumming highlight “Mysterious Traveler,” and the guitarist’s underrated straightahead jazz chops shine through on “Footprints” and “Sightseeing.” Another Weather Report composition-the funky, stop-and-start “D Flat Waltz” by Henderson’s onetime employer Joe Zawinul-proves the 12-minute highlight among this honorary sequence.

Other highlights: Chambers blends funk and fury on Billy Cobham’s closing “Stratus,” a homecoming of sorts for Henderson, who wowed club crowds with it in his native Florida during the ’70s. And Berlin’s solo reading of his “Threedom” provides the disc’s best original moments.

Originally Published