Jazz Artist Al Henderson Headlines York U Faculty Concert Series


TORONTO, February 5, 2009 -- Acclaimed jazz bassist, composer and arranger Al Henderson leads an ensemble of colleagues and friends in his upcoming performance for the Faculty Concert Series of York University’s Music Department. He brings a wealth of new and original material to the stage with the Al Henderson Septet on February 24 in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall at York.


Henderson is known nationally both as leader of his own quintet and co-leader of the influential group Time Warp. The quintet has expanded to a septet with two cellists for his most recent material. He has performed with jazz artists such as Jane Bunnett, Arnett Cobb, Hank Crawford, Slim Gaillard, Jimmy Knepper, Flip Phillips and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson.


As a composer, he has created a large and distinctive repertoire of original works. In addition to CDs by his own bands, his compositions have been recorded by artists such as Don Pullen, Jane Bunnett, Shox Johnson & the Jive Bombers, Alex Dean and Richard Whiteman.


Joining him for the concert are leading lights of the Canadian music scene, many of them leaders of their own bands: Pat Labarbera (saxes and flute), Alex Dean (saxes, flute, bass clarinet), and York faculty members Mark Chambers (cello), Matt Brubeck (cello), Richard Whiteman (piano) and Barry Romberg (drums).


Most of the music on the program for February 24 is drawn from Henderson’s current recording project, Regeneration, a CD slated for release this spring. The title track is dedicated to one of the principal architects behind the Canadian War Museum, Raymond Moriyama, and his wife Sachi.


“The Moriyamas asked me to write them a piece a number of years back. I told Raymond I at least needed a title, so he suggested Regeneration, which was one of the themes he was exploring as he was designing the museum,” Henderson said. “I’ve been working on the project for some time, as I wanted everything to be just so, but every time we talked I would get new ideas. The ‘piece’ has grown into a six-section suite more than 15 minutes long.


“In the meantime, Raymond has finished and launched the museum and written a book about his experience designing it, called In Search of a Soul. The book inspired yet another composition which serves as a kind of epilogue to the suite itself.”


Henderson’s research for Regeneration drew from many sources, including the War Museum itself and his own family history. His grandfather, who played cornet in the 1st Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Forces in WW1, kept journals about his first-hand experiences in the battle of Amiens and marching through the destruction that was Passchendaele. One moment that particularly struck Henderson in his reading, was his grandfather’s comment on how difficult is was to play when one’s throat was hoarse from being gassed the day before.


Also on the CD - and the concert program - are Henderson’s recent compositions Spirit Owl, inspired by an Inuit transformation sculpture by Cape Dorset artist Turataga Ragee, and Palacio, a jazz tribute to the late Andy Palacio, a father of the Belizean music style known as Punta Rock.


Henderson is a graduate of York’s music program and has taught at his alma mater for many years, becoming a full-time professor of jazz in 2006.

What: Al Henderson Septet
When: Tues. February 24 at 7:30pm
Where: Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building, York University, 4700 Keele St. [Map]
Admission: single tickets $15, students & seniors $5 |  series tickets: three-concert package for $30
Box Office: 416.736.5888 | www.yorku.ca/perform/boxoffice


Media Contact:

Amy Stewart, Communications, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University | 416.650.8469  amy.stewart@yorku.ca