Joe Henderson was a saxophonist whose contributions to jazz music continue to inspire and influence musicians today. In memory of his birthday today, we take a look back at one of his most iconic albums, “Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn.” The album showcased Henderson’s incredible talent as a soloist while paying tribute to one of the greatest composers in jazz history.
Billy Strayhorn was a prolific composer and arranger who worked with Duke Ellington for many years, creating some of the most iconic jazz tunes of all time. “Lush Life,” one of Strayhorn’s most famous compositions, was the title track of Henderson’s tribute album.
On “Lush Life,” Henderson’s saxophone playing is characterized by its warmth and lyricism, perfectly capturing the mood and essence of Strayhorn’s music. His solos are virtuosic and emotionally charged, showcasing his technical prowess and his ability to tell a story through his playing.
The album features an all-star cast of musicians, including pianist Stephen Scott, bassist Christian McBride trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Their playing is characterized by its tight, rhythmic grooves and its ability to create a supportive and dynamic musical environment for Henderson’s saxophone playing.
The album includes several other classic Strayhorn tunes, including “Isfahan,” “Chelsea Bridge,” and “Lush Life.” Each track is a masterful interpretation of Strayhorn’s music, showcasing Henderson’s incredible talent as a bandleader and his deep understanding of the jazz tradition.
“Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn” is a testament to Joe Henderson’s incredible talent as a saxophonist and bandleader. The album secured Henderson his first of three Grammy Awards in 1992.