There’s no mystery about the inspiration for Eddie Henderson’s latest CD, So What,
from its famously allusive title to the middle-range trumpet vocabulary that stresses silence over flurries of notes or muted implication over fortissimo exclamation. Henderson, it seems, never forgot his early meeting with Miles Davis, along with his experiences in performing with the trumpet legend.
For So What
is exclusively Miles Davis territory. Even so, in tribute, Henderson has assembled an outstanding group, including the now-deceased Bob Berg, to reacquaint listeners with Davis’ work, more than to reinterpret his music.
Once the concept of the CD is understood, and accepted, listeners can sit back and enjoy the excellence of the musicians, all of whom have contributed memorable work on others’ CD’s throughout their careers. In addition to Berg, who nails every solo with eloquence and fire, pianist David Kikoswki remains the respectful accompanist, adding prismatic colors behind the leader, before he raises a tune’s sense of excitement , such as that in "So What," to an even higher level through the force of his own musicianship.
Henderson’s dedication is admirable, so much so that it gives rise to the appreciation of Miles Davis’ vast influence, as he has given rise to other equally inspired trumpeters such as Erik Truffaz or Tim Hagans. But Henderson, for the most part, plays it straight, capturing Davis’ sound from his 1960’s quintet with fully rounded tones as on "Prince of Darkness" or a muted buzz accompanied acoustically, as on "All Blues." While So What
doesn’t break any new ground, it does remind the listener once again of the genius that was Miles Davis as he continued to push the envelope throughout his career. And So What
offers some fine work by some of the top jazz musicians on the scene at the time of the recording.