EDDIE HENDERSON — Sunburst

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EDDIE HENDERSON - Sunburst cover
3.70 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1975

Filed under Fusion
By EDDIE HENDERSON

Tracklist

A1 Explodition 6:34
A2 The Kumquat Kids 4:30
A3 Sunburst 5:46
B1 Involuntary Bliss 6:49
B2 Hop Scotch 3:52
B3 Galaxy 6:35
B4 We End In A Dream 3:10

Total Time: 37:34

Line-up/Musicians

Acoustic Bass – Buster Williams
Drums – Billy Hart, Harvey Mason
Electric Bass, Effects – Alphonso Johnson
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Clavinet, Synthesizer [Mini Moog, Arp Odyssey, Arp String Ensemble] – George Duke
Marimba – Bobby Hutcherson
Tenor Saxophone, Saxello, Bass Clarinet – Bennie Maupin
Trombone, Horn [Post] – Julian Priester
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Cornet – Eddie Henderson

About this release

Blue Note – BN-LA464-G (US)

Recorded and mixed at Wally Heider Recording Studios in San Francisco in March and April 1975

Thanks to snobb, js for the updates

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EDDIE HENDERSON SUNBURST reviews

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Members reviews

Sean Trane
Well, I’m still not aware if Henderson had a musical professional background (he was a professional figure ice-skater and medical student, though) before being part of Herbie’s Mwandishi group (I’d imagine Hancock not hiring rookies), but since the dismantling of that magic group, its three hornmen (Maupin, Priester and Eddie) made some brilliant solo JR/F albums, this being Henderson’s second of third effort. Eddie’s first two solo effort (Realization and Inside Out) bore many Swahili-tribe skin-scars, but Sunburst kinds of disengage somewhat from that realm. Don’t get me wrong though, there are still some heavy Mwandishi friends on Sunburst as both Priester and Maupin are present, but so are Williams and Hart (for only one track, though), but check out George Duke, Hutcherson, Harvey and Alphonso’s presence as well. What a friggin’ line-up.

Despite being released on the then-fledging Blue Note album, Sunburst sports a convincing and appropriate red-hot modern artwork that describes the volcanic musical fusion. The ultra-funky opener of Explodition features a funky Alphonso bass line with Henderson’s trumpet soaring high over sun-burned soundscapes made from Duke’s Rhodes and synth, and un-credited funky guitar lines (low in the mix). The following Kumquat track could find a spot on Hancock’s Head Hunter album and it features a bit (way too few, IMHO) of Maupin’s delightful bass clarinet, while Henderson is trump(et)ing Miles’ effect-laden horn. The steaming title track might just be my fave of the album. It is a little unfortunate that the album’s lengthiest track takes a little to long to unravel its fierce nature after a tamer intro, but Duke’s keyboard works in the calmer (at first) middle section partially makes up for it. The short ultra-funky Hop scotch is the album’s weakest track, even if the musicians do strut their chops. The spacey Galaxy piece is quite a change from its preceding sister, and after a cosmic intro, Maupin’s bass clarinet is finally unleashed and running amok in the Universe’s naught. Amazing stuff!! The closing aptly-titled We End In A Dream sports a slightly different line-up and hints more at Crossing the Sextant.



supertwister
'Sunburst' is Henderson's third album and the first that he released after the 1972 'Mwandishi' sessions that led to his first two albums. The line-up still features various members from the Mwandishi line-up, bar notable absentee Herbie Hancock. The music is quite different though. The year is 1975 and fusion had lost much of its edge and experimentalism, and as a result lost much of it appeal for me.

This album largely follows the main taste of the day, with funky fusion and shorter 'catchy' compositions, at least compared to the free-jazz based improvisations and psychedelic sound of the early 70's. There are still some traces of Henderson's earlier spacey sound, the title track and 'Galaxy' are excellent examples. Also his emotive trumpet playing remained intact. But the main part of the album can be put in the section 'energetic funk fusion with brilliant musicianship'. And by brilliant musicianship I never mean dazzling solos or 'speed of light' finger exercise, but rather the concentrated and dynamic interplay that the band achieved here. Some of the tracks weigh a bit too light for me though, and despite their obvious qualities, I can go without easier going pieces like 'Hop Scotch' or 'Involuntary Bliss'.

I believe this is a very good album from its era but compared to Henderson's previous album I will need to settle for 3.5. Recommended if you want a more accessible introduction to Henderson's superb trumpet playing.

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