I first played at close quarters with Eddie Henderson at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in September 2005. He was one of the many renowned visiting artists booked into the club by manager Peter Wallis during a golden period, where you could look down the listings and see names like Chris Potter, Kenny Garrett, Diana Krall and Joey Calderazzo rubbing shoulders with some of the UK’s finest.
I knew him from his work with Herbie Hancock’s experimental Mwandishi band – and particularly the album “Sextant”, so to be given the chance to work with him felt like a real privilege. The first thing that became obvious about Eddie was his musical and personal openness. There was no sense of him attempting to control the musicians on-stage with him. He picked great tunes and, through his spirit and musicianship, provided the creative platform that enabled things to happen.
Underpinning it all was his love for music and a feeling that you were connected to the artists you’d listened to since you first found out about jazz – his musical associations read like a who’s who of contemporary jazz: his father was Miles Davis’ doctor and he took occasional trumpet lessons with Lee Morgan.
This relaxed openness and commitment to music follows him off the stage. He connects easily with people. During the two UK tours with my band Ambulance he became very much part of the band, musically and socially.
It’s a real pleasure to be able to welcome him back to London. The prospect of working with him as part of Tim Lapthorn’s trio (one of the UK’s most creative pianists) is one I’m really looking forward to.
Many might know him from his jazz funk albums of the late 70’s and some of his more experimental music on the Capricorn label. In recent years he has focused on acoustic jazz and teaching as part of the faculty at Julliard School of Music.
If you’d like to check out some of his recent recordings I can recommend three albums: Time and Spaces, Oasis and Precious Moment.
Eddie Henderson with The Tim Lapthorn Trio
Pizza Express Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th October
Eddie Henderson – trumpet and flugel horn, Tim Lapthorn – piano
Stephen Keogh – drums, Arnie Somogyi – bass