Warm Valley

Warm Valley

by Tony Martucci

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Warm Valley

Near the tail-end of his career, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson was coerced to do concept albums for the major labels he toiled for. In the case of Warm Valley, he was contracted to collaborate with the Washington, D.C. based working trio of drummer Tony Martucci, bassist Tommy Cecil, and pianist Louis Scherr. The combination supports the supple playing of Henderson quite well, but the trio is free to assert itself as a unit without Henderson. This gives the recording a dynamic variance and diversity that goes beyond what Henderson and any so-called backup band playing standards might offer, while also giving the legendary post-Coltrane icon his head in full regalia. The music written by Scherr or Cecil are the winners. Of Scherr's compositions, a bopper "Zsa Zsa" goes up and down in octaves with many staccato accents, while the lengthy "Santorini" is an outstanding unison piece, featuring a pristine light funk Brazilian base with the bassist and Henderson breezing through. Cecil contributes three pieces -- the sweet and light "G Flat Ballad" with a more pronounced bass and animated Henderson, the impressive "Escapade" with baroque style chiming locked hand piano chords merging to bossa and swing, and the pretty waltz "Sarabande" sans Henderson and led by cellist Susan Kelly. Three Duke Ellington evergreens are added, including "Who Knows," again without the tenor sax, but rocket fueled in a virtuosic display from Scherr alongside Cecil, and a similarly fleet "Perdido" where Scherr extrapolates brilliantly in reharmonizing the melody, then hits up the original swinging lines perfectly. The really, really slow title track has Henderson's horn dripping in thinly veiled emotion and introspection. This is an excellent CD overall, featuring a fine band with an extraordinary special guest, available as this Japanese West Wind import, and also issued with the same title and tracks in the U.S. on the W.I.N. (What's in a Name) label as Scherr-Cecil-Martucci featuring Joe Henderson.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/19/2013
Label: West Wind
UPC: 4011778320937
catalogNumber: 2093

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