1. Ms. Polley
2. La Fuerza
3. Anti Heroes
4. Ghosts of the Sun
5. William (Drums)
6. Little One
7. William III
8. Lost Song
9. Roses II
CD Quality - 16 bit / 44.1 khz
The best method to amass critical attention is to stand apart from the crowd. Occasionally, an artist comes along who can diverge from the expected and catch the imagination of listeners while doing what comes instinctively. Saxophonist/composer Bill McHenry has developed his own unique sound and approach to the jazz tradition that has set him apart from his peers.
The breadth of McHenry’s art is vast and varied. His lush tenor saxophone tone echoes the past masters like Coleman Hawkins while his advanced technique enables him to reach the furthest plains of contemporary experimentation. His abilities have made it possible for McHenry to perform alongside many legends and contemporary greats, including Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, John McNeil, Andrew Cyrille and Guillermo Klein.
McHenry’s ensemble leadership and compositional skills are well known amongst his associates but deserve further praise. He shows his faculty on his latest Sunnyside CD, Ghosts of the Sun (Nov. 22, 2011). Utilizing an all-star ensemble of a handful of his favorite collaborators, McHenry presents a diverse, exemplary program of original compositions that illustrate his tunefulness and unique abstraction. The group, featuring drummer Paul Motian, bassist Reid Anderson and guitarist Ben Monder, navigate the leader’s freely structured rhapsodies with amazing results.
The tunes strike a balance between impressionism, modernism and folk-like tunefulness. “Ms. Polley” slinks hazily under the gauze of Monder’s guitar and McHenry’s resonant sax. “La Fuerza” follows with an ardent melodic statement, which is furthered on “Anti Heroes, ” a longer composition with poignant solos and a jolting backbeat from Anderson and Motian. Melancholy permeates over the quietly introspective “Ghosts of the Sun.”
The stark “Little One” weaves a flowing singsong melody that builds throughout the piece with augmentations from the ensemble. McHenry’s brawny tone and improvisatory prowess are featured on “William III,” a forceful title that features Monder’s over driven guitar. “Lost Song” enters as a somber guitar and sax ballad, introducing space for Anderson’s lopping bass and Monder’s twang. The bustling “Roses II” reprises the theme from McHenry’s last solo outing (Roses, 2008) with an eruption of energy.
Ghosts of the Sun is a striking document of McHenry’s vast resources as composer, performer and improviser.
released November 22, 2012
Bill McHenry - tenor saxophone
Ben Monder - guitar
Reid Anderson - bass
Paul Motian - drums
supported by 16 fans who also own “Ghosts of the Sun”
It is a depressing situation (well,it depresses me anyway) that the arts culture in England,by and large,ignores its truly special,but minority interest,indigent musicians/composers and propagates and supports the mediocre with alarming consistency.
My English musical heroes (Mike Westbrook,Evan Parker,John Surman to name but three of a longer list) have been largely ignored in England but recognised for the towering talents they are on mainland Europe for years.Surely a little recognition and support at home might have helped ease the burden of a lifetime spent in pursuit of the musical truth (although,I suspect they all might play the 'triumph through adversity' card as we English tend to do?). Anyway,add Keith Tippett to that small but elite "England's towering talent"list and elevate these solo piano improvisations to the highest pinnacle...because that is where they deserve to be! This is great,great music,in my eyes,that informs and transforms me every time I listen to it...music with spirit and integrity;embedded with truth and honesty...how can you ask more of an artist than to give their all.