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JSngry

Tell Us How Much You Love Ernie Henry

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I love Ernie Henry a lot.

Your turn.

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Ok, Jim — but how much is “a lot”?

Quantify said love, and show your work.

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1380x840.jpg

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Ernie Henry with Monk, as well as his Riverside albums are things I like a lot.

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I like EH a lot. Enough that this thread made me pore through discographies to check what recordings I'm missing.

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Ernie Henry had that True BeBop Bob and Weave, in both his rhythm and in his tone.

A lot of people do it with the rhythm, but you get somebody who does it with their tone, that's what I like the most, enough to call it love.

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EI:  Ernie Henry.

MS:  Out of Bird but with a hard-edged, wailing sound, rhythmic punch and a pungency to his lines that mark an emerging individuality. But he died so young that we never got to hear where he might have gone. I’m fond of both Riverside records, Presenting Ernie Henry and Seven Standards and a Blues. Also, he held his own standing next to Sonny Rollins on Monk’s Brilliant Corners. Not a lot of guys could do that in 1956.

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So, let’s say — purely hypothetically — that I had a friend (a pretty big jazz fan), but who had never even heard of Ernie Henry before.

And I do have — I mean, my ‘friend’ — does have the Fats Navarro / Tadd Dameron 2cd comp BN put out in ‘95 (with the orange cover).  But I think that’s it (and I didn’t even know who all was on it).

What else can be recommended??

Or more specifically, can anyone post a few notable and key tracks from YouTube here? — to help sell my hypothetical friend on Henry. ;)

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50 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

So, let’s say — purely hypothetically — that I had a friend (a pretty big jazz fan), but who had never even heard of Ernie Henry before.

And I do have — I mean, my ‘friend’ — does have the Fats Navarro / Tadd Dameron 2cd comp BN put out in ‘95 (with the orange cover).  But I think that’s it (and I didn’t even know who all was on it).

What else can be recommended??

Or more specifically, can anyone post a few notable and key tracks from YouTube here? — to help sell my hypothetical friend on Henry. ;)

 

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I love EH, but no more than Frank Strozier, C Sharp, Sonny Red, or that other obscure alto player whose name I'm forgetting right now.

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Posted (edited)

I would have liked to see an album co-led with Brother Matthew.

 

Mi05MDY4LmpwZWc.jpeg

Edited by jazzbo

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I like this one. no make that love it.

 

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Not much. My Uncle had the original vinyl on Presenting Ernie Henry, and his out of tune playing on that LP made it unbearable.

I'm not a stickler on OOT playing, but that one just turned me off to him. It could've been a bad reed, faulty horn or whatever. I'll check out other albums.

I loaned Frank Strozier's Long Night to a sax player i worked with a lot, and he said FS played a little OOT. Strozier said he quit playing the sax because he couldn't find a good reed.

Alto is a tough instrument to play in tune on.

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I have heard some of the same OOT comments about the playing of Jackie McLean.

Yet in the case of both Ernie Henry and Jackie McLean, I hear a passion and soulfulness and jazz sensibility that makes me strongly like their playing a great deal.

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Strongly. Yes. Very much so 

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Posted (edited)

Fine player - always interesting - kind of "off kilter". His 'Tadd Walk' solo with Fats in '47 is a classic to these ears. There's quite a bit of him with various Diz big bands - also 2 tracks live with Monk quartet in Philly 1956 ...

Edited by Quasimado
spelling

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Since I fell in love with be bop after hearing Mingus´ "Parkeriana" in the 70´s and wanting to know who is "this Charlie Parker", I heard and liked everything from the classic stuff, The BN Fats Navarro Vol. 1 and the Savoy Stuff both from 1947, as well as the "Fats-McGhee" from 1948 have very fine contributions of him. 
The ´47 band was called the "Onyx-Band" and the 1948 band was called the "Roost-Band". 
 

And even more: His tenure with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. He even did scat together with Diz on stuff like "Ool-ya-Koo" if I remember right. 
And yeah, the 1956 Monk stuff. 

About his sound. It´s else than Jackie McLean though I didn´t hear only once that there are people who don´t like Jackie McLean or even Ernie Henry but I  LOVE that sound so much.

To my greatest pleasure, just recently I had the possiblity to meet a fantastic alto player those days during the course of a jam session. 

He just came into the club and had an alto with him. He was very heavy, at least like Fats Navarro in his best days. And he played !!!!! That´s it. It was only three tunes, a Parker-Blues, some "It Could Happen to you" and "Rhythm á Ning" and that Sound, that Phrasing , that gettin "A Step Beyond" , all that beauty , that stuff I like most , he was fantastic. Maybe a bit shy.... we asked him where he´s from and he was from the States. He still hold his alto in his hands when a female singer and a guitar player took over the stage proceedings. I don´t know his name I don´t know if he will stay in town, I don´t know nothin´else than that I really loved what he did, it was like if I would have played with an alter ego of McLean..... 

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Posted (edited)

On 28.7.2022 at 11:46 PM, sgcim said:

Not much. My Uncle had the original vinyl on Presenting Ernie Henry, and his out of tune playing on that LP made it unbearable.

I'm not a stickler on OOT playing, but that one just turned me off to him. It could've been a bad reed, faulty horn or whatever. I'll check out other albums.

 

At a time in the 90s when I bought a huge batch of OJC reissues through a channel that carried them at a good price (and with me figuring that was the time to stock up on vinyl before everything shifted to CDs), I also picked up the "Presenting Ernie Henry" and "Last Chorus" LPs.

As I recall, when first listening to them, I found his playing somewhat raggedy here and there but -superficially speaking - not totally out of keeping with what happened in recorded jazz of the latter 50s.
Then, several years later, I became aware of reviews of these records (through the Down Beat Record Reviews books), with Nat Hentoff commenting on "Presenting ... " (3 1/2 stars) like this:
"Henry, deeply molded by Bird, plays with passionate force, but his voice is not yet a wholly distinctive one. His tone could advantageously lose some of its frequent stridency and he would be a bigger musician if he were to blend more lyricism with this cragginess. He is, as the notes indicate, a man strong in the blues. ... The five Henry originals are attractive."

The year after, Martin Williams, however had this to say in his DB review of "Last Chorus" (2 stars) and on Ernie Henry, in particular: "What is one to say about a man who did so much work - even in recording studios and even when men like Monk and Golson might have spoken up - so out of tune? And a man whose lines suffer so often from faulty execution (the solos on "Someone" and "Things" are obvious but hardly isolated cases) and bad fingering - a man whose work suffers so constantly from an apparent lack of the dexterity and musicianship to play both the style and the very runs he chose to try to play? And about the frustration of hearing an occasionally fresh idea or individual way of using a less fresh idea (especially and appropriately on the several blues here) breaking through phrases and motifs that almost anyone uses and executes better?
Many profess ot hear a kind of passionate and personal beauty in Henry's playing. I confess I hear strain and incompletenes, the strain and incompleteness of a man who was not translating his feeling into music but straining at the act of playing itself."

FWIW, John A. Tynan's 2-star DB recview of "Seven Standards and the Blues" was even less merciful: "If this album must be considered a legacy of Ernie Henry ... then it is most unfortunate. Were it not for the fine, all-around performances of his rhythm section men (hence the rating), one would be compelled to write off the record as almost a total loss. Throughout, Henry's playing verges on the childish (indeed there must be many high school child musicians - at Farmingdale anyway - who acquit themselves in much better style any day of the week). Kicking off the album, Henry, instrument is horribly out of tune. Then there is a constant painful straining perceptibly felt in his wholly uncultured tone and the frequent lack of necessary technique to express facilely the ideas he reaches for. The few stimulating moments, as in the blues, "Gravity", unfortunately fail to compensate for an otherwise pretty pathetic performance."

Relistening after this (and as always trying not to let my listening be overly colored by reviews but just trying to take them as added impressions and food for thought) I nevertheless did see how one would conceivably arrive at such an impression of "Last Chorus". Of course tastes vary - and isn't it always a matter of taste how any music is perceived? One man's meat is another man's poison, and the benefit (or plight?) of today's knows-it-all hindsight in dismissing any such period reviews outright as "the reviewer missed the point anyway" is a highly debatable stance IMO. Not every recording matures with time or is understood only generations after and (beyond all personal preferences) later generations of listeners or scibes don't automatically or in each and every case know better. But it does make me wonder how to take such music.

Was Ernie Henry's out-of-tune playing and his raggediness a personal quirk of someone who really knew what he was doing or was it really (or rather) a sign of him overstretching his abilities (even when discounting any period judgment yardsticks such as, for example, George T. Simon's obsessiveness with "tasteful playing" and "playing in tune")? Or are are there others out there now who (again in hindsight) would see these recordings as an early example of someone venturing onto the "anything goes" direction of free playing where playing in tune certainly is no criterion anymore?

It IS odd ... :mellow:

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Too often, intonation policing is the last refuge of a martinet.

Pitch is a tool, not an absolute

Even A440 itself wasn't always a universal constant. You can look it up. 

 

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6 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

At a time in the 90s when I bought a huge batch of OJC reissues through a channel that carried them at a good price (and with me figuring that was the time to stock up on vinyl before everything shifted to CDs), I also picked up the "Presenting Ernie Henry" and "Last Chorus" LPs.

As I recall, when first listening to them, I found his playing somewhat raggedy here and there but -superficially speaking - not totally out of keeping with what happened in recorded jazz of the latter 50s.
Then, several years later, I became aware of reviews of these records (through the Down Beat Record Reviews books), with Nat Hentoff commenting on "Presenting ... " (3 1/2 stars) like this:
"Henry, deeply molded by Bird, plays with passionate force, but his voice is not yet a wholly distinctive one. His tone could advantageously lose some of its frequent stridency and he would be a bigger musician if he were to blend more lyricism with this cragginess. He is, as the notes indicate, a man strong in the blues. ... The five Henry originals are attractive."

The year after, Martin Williams, however had this to say in his DB review of "Last Chorus" (2 stars) and on Ernie Henry, in particular: "What is one to say about a man who did so much work - even in recording studios and even when men like Monk and Golson might have spoken up - so out of tune? And a man whose lines suffer so often from faulty execution (the solos on "Someone" and "Things" are obvious but hardly isolated cases) and bad fingering - a man whose work suffers so constantly from an apparent lack of the dexterity and musicianship to play both the style and the very runs he chose to try to play? And about the frustration of hearing an occasionally fresh idea or individual way of using a less fresh idea (especially and appropriately on the several blues here) breaking through phrases and motifs that almost anyone uses and executes better?
Many profess ot hear a kind of passionate and personal beauty in Henry's playing. I confess I hear strain and incompletenes, the strain and incompleteness of a man who was not translating his feeling into music but straining at the act of playing itself."

FWIW, John A. Tynan's 2-star DB recview of "Seven Standards and the Blues" was even less merciful: "If this album must be considered a legacy of Ernie Henry ... then it is most unfortunate. Were it not for the fine, all-around performances of his rhythm section men (hence the rating), one would be compelled to write off the record as almost a total loss. Throughout, Henry's playing verges on the childish (indeed there must be many high school child musicians - at Farmingdale anyway - who acquit themselves in much better style any day of the week). Kicking off the album, Henry, instrument is horribly out of tune. Then there is a constant painful straining perceptibly felt in his wholly uncultured tone and the frequent lack of necessary technique to express facilely the ideas he reaches for. The few stimulating moments, as in the blues, "Gravity", unfortunately fail to compensate for an otherwise pretty pathetic performance."

Relistening after this (and as always trying not to let my listening be overly colored by reviews but just trying to take them as added impressions and food for thought) I nevertheless did see how one would conceivably arrive at such an impression of "Last Chorus". Of course tastes vary - and isn't it always a matter of taste how any music is perceived? One man's meat is another man's poison, and the benefit (or plight?) of today's knows-it-all hindsight in dismissing any such period reviews outright as "the reviewer missed the point anyway" is a highly debatable stance IMO. Not every recording matures with time or is understood only generations after and (beyond all personal preferences) later generations of listeners or scibes don't automatically or in each and every case know better. But it does make me wonder how to take such music.

Was Ernie Henry's out-of-tune playing and his raggediness a personal quirk of someone who really knew what he was doing or was it really (or rather) a sign of him overstretching his abilities (even when discounting any period judgment yardsticks such as, for example, George T. Simon's obsessiveness with "tasteful playing" and "playing in tune")? Or are are there others out there now who (again in hindsight) would see these recordings as an early example of someone venturing onto the "anything goes" direction of free playing where playing in tune certainly is no criterion anymore?

It IS odd ... :mellow:

And what did Martin think of Jackie McLean? He and Henry are points on much the same line. Martin was, as I once wrote, a sober puritan at times.

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9 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

At a time in the 90s when I bought a huge batch of OJC reissues through a channel that carried them at a good price (and with me figuring that was the time to stock up on vinyl before everything shifted to CDs), I also picked up the "Presenting Ernie Henry" and "Last Chorus" LPs.

As I recall, when first listening to them, I found his playing somewhat raggedy here and there but -superficially speaking - not totally out of keeping with what happened in recorded jazz of the latter 50s.
Then, several years later, I became aware of reviews of these records (through the Down Beat Record Reviews books), with Nat Hentoff commenting on "Presenting ... " (3 1/2 stars) like this:
"Henry, deeply molded by Bird, plays with passionate force, but his voice is not yet a wholly distinctive one. His tone could advantageously lose some of its frequent stridency and he would be a bigger musician if he were to blend more lyricism with this cragginess. He is, as the notes indicate, a man strong in the blues. ... The five Henry originals are attractive."

The year after, Martin Williams, however had this to say in his DB review of "Last Chorus" (2 stars) and on Ernie Henry, in particular: "What is one to say about a man who did so much work - even in recording studios and even when men like Monk and Golson might have spoken up - so out of tune? And a man whose lines suffer so often from faulty execution (the solos on "Someone" and "Things" are obvious but hardly isolated cases) and bad fingering - a man whose work suffers so constantly from an apparent lack of the dexterity and musicianship to play both the style and the very runs he chose to try to play? And about the frustration of hearing an occasionally fresh idea or individual way of using a less fresh idea (especially and appropriately on the several blues here) breaking through phrases and motifs that almost anyone uses and executes better?
Many profess ot hear a kind of passionate and personal beauty in Henry's playing. I confess I hear strain and incompletenes, the strain and incompleteness of a man who was not translating his feeling into music but straining at the act of playing itself."

FWIW, John A. Tynan's 2-star DB recview of "Seven Standards and the Blues" was even less merciful: "If this album must be considered a legacy of Ernie Henry ... then it is most unfortunate. Were it not for the fine, all-around performances of his rhythm section men (hence the rating), one would be compelled to write off the record as almost a total loss. Throughout, Henry's playing verges on the childish (indeed there must be many high school child musicians - at Farmingdale anyway - who acquit themselves in much better style any day of the week). Kicking off the album, Henry, instrument is horribly out of tune. Then there is a constant painful straining perceptibly felt in his wholly uncultured tone and the frequent lack of necessary technique to express facilely the ideas he reaches for. The few stimulating moments, as in the blues, "Gravity", unfortunately fail to compensate for an otherwise pretty pathetic performance."

Relistening after this (and as always trying not to let my listening be overly colored by reviews but just trying to take them as added impressions and food for thought) I nevertheless did see how one would conceivably arrive at such an impression of "Last Chorus". Of course tastes vary - and isn't it always a matter of taste how any music is perceived? One man's meat is another man's poison, and the benefit (or plight?) of today's knows-it-all hindsight in dismissing any such period reviews outright as "the reviewer missed the point anyway" is a highly debatable stance IMO. Not every recording matures with time or is understood only generations after and (beyond all personal preferences) later generations of listeners or scibes don't automatically or in each and every case know better. But it does make me wonder how to take such music.

Was Ernie Henry's out-of-tune playing and his raggediness a personal quirk of someone who really knew what he was doing or was it really (or rather) a sign of him overstretching his abilities (even when discounting any period judgment yardsticks such as, for example, George T. Simon's obsessiveness with "tasteful playing" and "playing in tune")? Or are are there others out there now who (again in hindsight) would see these recordings as an early example of someone venturing onto the "anything goes" direction of free playing where playing in tune certainly is no criterion anymore?

It IS odd ... :mellow:

You're being too kind to the truly clueless reviewing here.  Wasn't it Tynan who referred to 'Trane and Dolphy at the Village Vanguard as 'anti-jazz'?  And Williams thought that the tape splices he heard on In a Silent Way were simply editing mistakes, not intentional choices.  They should've both been fired.  Ernie plays the way Ernie plays, deal with it.

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Posted (edited)

I have one of those OJC limited editions, but its packed away. I was happy to see it (long out of print) and happy to have it. He's no Jackie, but I'm not arguing he is  

Edited by Holy Ghost
grammar

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There is much flexibility in matters of intonation and such in jazz, but I (on limited experience) hear Henry as someone sounding, at times, out of tune and struggling for command. 

The Jackie McLean comparisons are interesting, because I have enjoyed and been moved by virtually everything I've heard by Jackie--and that's a lot records and solos.

 

 

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Henry had addiction issues, as did McLean. But I swear, when it comes to sheer rhythmic nuances (including tone), he swung harder than Jackie. Even when he faltered, it swung. SO like Bird in that regard 

Jackie never really let down his facade, no matter how high he was (or if he did, it's not on record). Henry did. But if you want to cut to the chase of the bobbing and weaving (and for me, that IS bebop), Ernie Henry is my man, almost every time. God knows I love Jackie too, but Henry just had more bob, more weave. 

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