So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles)

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So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles)
Studio album by Joe Henderson



Label (s) Verve Records

Format (s)


Genre (s)

Modern jazz

Title (number)


running time




Richard Seidel & Don Sickler

Studio (s)

Power Station, New York City

Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn
So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles) Double Rainbow: The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim

So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles) is a jazz album by Joe Henderson , recorded on October 12th, 13th and 14th, 1992 at Power Station Studios in New York City and released in 1993 on Verve Records .

The album

In the 1990s, Joe Henderson recorded a series of concept albums for the Verve label, the songbook characters of which are reminiscent of the songbook albums by Ella Fitzgerald , Oscar Peterson and Sarah Vaughan , which Verve successfully produced in the 1950s and 1960s : In 1991 the tenor saxophonist recorded an album with Billy Strayhorn compositions ( Lush Life ), in 1995 an album with music by the Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim ( Double Rainbow , with Herbie Hancock ) and finally as the last work before his death in 2001 Porgy and Bess album (1997); From these recordings, Henderson's homage, recorded in October 1992, to the trumpeter Miles Davis , who died the previous year, stands out under the title So Near, So Far .

Although Henderson had only worked briefly with Miles Davis in 1967, Henderson felt connected to the music of Miles Davis. For his album Joe Henderson and producer Richard Seidel selected some classic (like "Miles Ahead" or " Flamenco Sketches ") and also some less well-known Davis compositions (e.g. "Side Car") and added the title track " So Near, So Far “, composed by Tony Crombie and Benny Green and interpreted by Miles on the 1963 album Seven Steps to Heaven .

Joe Henderson and his band made up of John Scofield , Dave Holland and Al Foster , who also belonged to various Miles Davis bands, interpret the trumpeter's music based on transcriptions of the original pieces made by producer Don Sickler. With the choice of a guitarist - instead of a pianist as in the Lush Life session - the aim was to open up a new perspective on the classical material of Miles Davis since 1955 and to refer to the late Davis of the time around 1970/75, when he was also included Guitarist worked.

The first track on the album, the ballad-like "Miles Ahead" comes from the album of the same name Miles Ahead , which Davis recorded in 1957 with the Gil Evans Orchestra; Evans is also shown as a co-composer. The swinging piece "Joshua" was first recorded by Miles Davis with George Coleman in 1963 and published on the Seven Steps to Heaven album. "Pfrancing (No Blues)" comes from the sextet period around 1958 and appeared on the album Some Day My Prince Will Come in 1961. The composition "Teo", dedicated to Teo Macero , also appeared on this album for the first time. One of Miles' most famous pieces, "Flamenco Sketches", appeared on the 1959 Kind of Blue album. The bubbly "Milestones" (not to be confused with " Miles " on the Milestones album) was Miles' first composition, which was recorded on his first session as a leader on August 14, 1947 for Savoy when he was still playing in Charlie Parker's band . Miles first played "Swing Spring" in the legendary 1954 Christmas session with Milt Jackson and Thelonious Monk , which appeared on the album Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants . Davis recorded "Circle" and "Side Car" during his transition to rock jazz ; the ballad "Circle" was created in October 1966 with the second Miles Davis quintet and appeared on the Miles Smiles album ; Davis recorded "Side Car" in February 1968, with his quintet and George Benson on guitar.

Rating of the album

Joe Henderson shows, according to Scott Yanow in the All Music Guide , in this album and its titles, which are associated with Miles Davis, a new interpretation of little known material such as "Teo", "Swing Spring" or "Side Car"; he succeeded in creating independent, fresh interpretations of classics such as "Miles Ahead", "Milestones" and "No Blues". Yanow welcomes the fact that the saxophonist did not take the easier route and chose the relatively simpler material from Davis' early years.

Richard Cook and Brian Morton count So Near, So Far among the best albums in Joe Henderson's late work and gave it the highest rating of four stars. The authors attest to the new interpretations an unusual freshness and emphasize the impressive performances of the rhythm section. The framework and the extent of the musicians' improvisations are largely determined by their memories of the trumpeter.

Even Ian Carr stands in jazz - Rough Guide the album as one of the most important in the discography of the tenor saxophonist forth; it is a "moving tribute to Miles Davis"; the quartet "brings fresh life to everything, the music glows".


Joe Henderson's album So Near, So Far won a Grammy Award in 1994 in the Jazz Instrumental, Individual or Group category . He received another Grammy in the Jazz Instrumental Solo category for his interpretation of the title Miles Ahead . The album was recognized as Jazz Album of the Year by both Billboard Magazine and Village Voice . It was also named album of the year in the Down Beat ; Henderson was also recognized as Jazz Musician of the Year and Best Tenor Saxophonist.

Track list

  1. Miles Ahead (Davis / Gil Evans ) - 4:31
  2. Joshua ( Victor Feldman / Davis) - 6:18
  3. Pfrancing (No Blues) (Davis) - 8:18
  4. Flamenco Sketches (Davis) - 9:37
  5. Milestones (Davis) - 5:57
  6. Teo (Davis) - 8:36
  7. Swing Spring (Davis) - 8:10
  8. Circle (Davis) - 6:07
  9. Side Car (Davis) - 10:24
  10. So Near, So Far (Crombie / Green) - 4:30


Web links

Notes and individual references

  1. See Cook & Morton, p. 705.
  2. The album contains a photo that documents a performance of the two musicians in the New York jazz club Village Vanguard on January 19, 1967. Henderson also played on three other weekends with Davis' band in Boston, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Henderson went on to say that by 1960 he would almost have been a member of the Davis Band had he not been drafted into the US Army. John Coltrane , who left Davis that year, had recommended Henderson to the trumpeter as his successor. See Joe Henderson's comments in the Liner Notes.
  3. Because of the unclear authorship in the work of Miles Davis, Joe Henderson does not speak of Miles Davis compositions either; "This is music that was associated with the wonderful Miles Davis. And I think it's better to use that term 'associated' because through the years people felt that Miles had written things that in actuality he hadn't. I'm sure I grew up with this notion as well because he just had a way of putting his imprimatur on things he played. And whether he wrote the music or not, he anabled it to happen. "See Henderson, Liner Notes.
  4. See Richard Seidel, Liner Notes.
  5. All Music Guide
  6. See Cook & Morton. According to the authors, the late 1985 live recordings from the Village Vanguard, The State of the Tenor - Live at the Village Vanguard, have a similar significance in their late work .
  7. Bill Milkowski states in the liner notes that Al Foster, who had worked with Miles Davis the longest, had a picture of Miles hanging in front of him during the entire session. Quoted from Bill Milkowski, Richard Seidel, Joe Henderson, Liner Notes.
  8. ^ Ian Carr, p. 290.
  9. Henderson biography