Shuffle and Deal
“Shuffle and Deal”
The swinging hard-bop of trumpeter Eddie Henderson serves as musical comfort food for tumultuous times. On his latest release, Shuffle and Deal (Smoke Sessions), Henderson hits the studio with pianist Kenny Barron, saxophonist Donald Harrison and drummer Mike Clark, all of whom played on his 2018 release, Be Cool, as well as bassist Gerald Cannon. In addition to original material by Henderson and Barron, the album includes pieces by Henderson’s wife, Natsuko Henderson, and daughter, Cava Menzies, as well as a few standards. (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” takes on added poignancy during the COVID-19 pandemic.) The Henderson-penned title track, our selection, opens the record on a bluesy, swaggering note. Cannon and Clark keep the shuffle boiling, as Barron expertly comps the blues behind Henderson’s liquid-fire brass. Groove remains essential as Harrison blows in on alto, the heat never relinquishing as he hands the proceedings over to Barron. Henderson and Harrison then return to exquisite unison lines as they bring the piece to a sizzling conclusion.