So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Verve
WORKS: Assorted
PERFORMER: Joe Henderson (ts) with John Scofield (g); Dave Holland (b); Al Foster (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 517 674-2

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Although all-star ‘tribute’ albums – this one is for Miles Davis – frequently have a contrived air about them, this is a magnificent exception. Like Henderson’s award-winning album last year of compositions by Billy Strayhorn (Ellington’s famous alter ego and arranger), it both sheds new light on an imaginative and at times recherché choice of material, and provides a stunning vindication of Henderson’s reputation as one of the world’s leading tenor saxophonists.

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His sound is beautifully controlled and supremely cultured, and is perfectly complemented by collaborators whose track records all include distinguished periods with Davis himself. Scofield in particular is outstanding in this quartet, both for his chiming and swooning accompaniment to the leader’s solos and for his own sensitive improvisations. A masterpiece from four masters. Chris Parker