Trumpet and flugelhorn master Eddie Harris steps out front with Collective Portrait, and kills it!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Collective Portrait is far from a solo release but more of a true collective of a myriad of artistic expression from an all star band including George Cables, Gary Bartz, Doug Weiss and Carl Allen. Smoke Sessions has released some of the finest straight ahead jazz this year, Collective Portrait may be one of the three best.
A somewhat introspective and highly personal release has Henderson paying fitting homage to those that have influenced his career. Freddie Hubbard's "First Light" along with the great Woody Shaw tune "Zoltan" are the high watermarks yet tunes such as George Cables "Morning Song" bring a slightly more funk oriented vibe some players seem to prefer to sidestep. The rhythm section is superb with Cables, Allen and Weiss. Gary Bartz lays out of some of the ballads yet more than shows his immense talent everywhere else.
Solid, entertaining and the mark of a true lyrical artist, Collective Portrait is simply top notch.
Tracks: Sunburst; Dreams; Morning Song; You Know I Care; Beyond Forever; First Light; Together; Ginger Bread Boy; Spring; Zoltan.