Eddie Henderson’s For All We Know, new from Furthermore Recordings, arrives just in time for the trumpet player’s seventieth birthday. Henderson first attracted attention as a member of Herbie Hancock’s sextet in the early 1970s. After parting ways with Hancock, he recorded steadily throughout the ’70s, releasing numerous well-received jazz fusion albums. The past ten years have proven to be his most prolific since that period.
For All We Know finds Henderson leading a quartet through eight swinging tunes, utilizing his Miles Davis-influenced style on both trumpet and flugelhorn. Henderson assembled an experienced group for this session. John Scofield, who’s own discography goes back more than thirty years, plays guitar. His soloing throughout the album has a questing, exploratory feel. His comping behind Henderson’s horn lines is subtle and supportive. The rhythm section of Doug Weiss on bass and Billy Drummond on drums is never instrusive, providing a solid foundation for Henderson and Scofield to roam upon.
Leading off the set is Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz,” featuring an extended coda that strays a good distance from the tune’s home base. Collectively the quartet spend a few minutes getting a bit “free” with Waller’s stalwart standard. “Be Cool,” written by Henderson’s wife Natsuko, is taken at an easy going tempo, though not quite as cool as the title suggests. Drummond keeps the groove fairly turbulent, especially during a stretch featuring only he and Weiss. Drummond brings the sound to a roiling boil before the tune simmers down abruptly.
Serving as the set’s title, J. Fred Coots gorgeous 1934 ballad “For All We Know” finds Henderson underplaying to great effect with a soothing solo. Henderson’s own “Sand Storm” shatters the serenity with the album’s briskest tempo. With a nicely constructed solo, Henderson works up a head of steam with ample nudging from Drummond. In fact, Drummond turns out to be the album’s secret weapon. His ever-shifting rhythmic textures are engaging and unpredictable. He keeps finding new ways to goose the others during a twitchy run through Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island.”
However skilled the accompaniment, For All We Know remains Henderson’s show. His evocation of Miles Davis during the shortest piece, “Missing Miles,” is deeply felt. A second original tune, a light-footed bit of optimism called “Popo,” closes the album on a happy note. Weiss and Drummond keep things skipping along in a carefree manner while Henderson glides to the finish line. On his Furthermore debut, the newly septuagenarian Eddie Henderson demonstrates he still has plenty to say.