Eddie Henderson

Anthology, Vol. 2: The Capricorn Years

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Although the electric Herbie Hancock Sextet (and septet) left only a slim three-album discography on Warner Bros. and Columbia, you can expand it considerably by adding Anthology, Vol. 2: The Capricorn Years, a 2005 single-disc comp from the British Soul Brother label that combines two LPs Eddie Henderson made in the early '70s as a leader on Capricorn -- a Georgia rock label known mostly for recording the Allman Brothers. Henderson's band is, in fact, the Hancock Septet minus Julian Priester with a second drummer (Lenny White) added, and the group plays the same brand of fantastic, electronically charged, intergalactic jazz-rock. Henderson extends and develops the Hancock approach, sputtering and moving laconically about in a manner greatly affected by Miles Davis but more ebullient in tone. There are five compositions from Henderson's Capricorn debut, Realization, most of them penned by the trumpeter, with a contribution from Hancock (the subtly beautiful "Revelation") and the delicately textured "Anua" from Bennie Maupin. The drumming (from White and Billy Hart) is brilliantly propulsive; Hancock logs a lot of solo time and gets to play with his Echoplex, while Patrick Gleeson slips in mind-blowing streaks and whooshes of sound from his Moog and ARP synthesizers. Realization is one of the great lost treasures of the jazz-rock era; the music is a bit looser than that of the Hancock records yet every bit as invigorating and forward-thrusting. The remaining seven tracks on Anthology are from Henderson's second and final Capricorn release, Inside Out, with Maupin back on a variety of reeds, Hancock on electric keyboards, Gleeson on synthesizers, Buster Williams on bass, and Hart on drums. Henderson again had rounded up everyone in the group except Priester, adding second drummer Eric Gravatt (from Weather Report) and Bill Summers (from the Headhunters) on congas. One can feel the funky influence of the Headhunters entering the building, particularly in the basslines and Hancock's wah-wah keyboard work, but this is still very much the music of the Septet -- open-ended and almost free, heavily electronic, spiritual in intent, and enormously stimulating. Although Henderson and Maupin control the repertoire, the trumpeter continues to interact virtually as an equal among equals, sounding more haunting and free-floating now. Drier in texture and less frantically driven than the tracks from Realization, the seven Inside Out tracks nevertheless present the de facto swan song of one of the great bands of jazz-rock.

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