Porgy and Bess

Joe Henderson

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Porgy and Bess Review

by Leo Stanley

In general, Joe Henderson's take on Porgy and Bess meets the high standards of his latter-day records for Verve. Working with arranger Bob Belden and a wonderful combo -- including guitarist John Scofield, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette, trombonist Conrad Herwig and vibraphonist Stefon Harris -- Henderson brings Gershwin's music to life with subtle beauty and grace. Furthermore, he demonstrates his uniqueness -- Henderson's Porgy and Bess may share the same source as Miles Davis' legendary Porgy and Bess, yet it has an original sound, relying less on orchestration than that classic. While this disc is not flawless -- instead of enhancing the music, guest spots from vocalists Chaka Khan and Sting actually stop the momentum, calling attention to themselves -- it nevertheless is another valuable addition to Henderson's catalog.

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