Bill Henderson

His Complete Vee-Jay Recordings, Vol. 1 [2000]

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The first of two CDs that reissue all of singer Bill Henderson's output for Vee-Jay, this set finds Henderson (at the ages of 29-31) virtually at the beginning of his recording career; only a few singles preceded the Vee-Jay sessions. Henderson, a straightforward singer who developed his own sound while being in the tradition of Joe Williams, is heard on this CD in several settings. He is backed by the Ramsey Lewis trio on seven numbers, accompanied by a notable all-star sextet (with trumpeter Booker Little, tenorman Yusef Lateef, and arrangements by Benny Golson), joined by a Count Basie-oriented octet arranged by Frank Wess, has the assistance of the MJT + 3 on one number, and is backed by an orchestra on the final two songs. One of the most often overlooked jazz singers of the past 35 years, Bill Henderson is heard throughout the definitive set in top form, particularly on such numbers as "Bye Bye Blackbird," "It Never Entered My Mind," "Moanin'," and "Sleeping Bee." Highly recommended.

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