Time for some "fast feet music" 🙂
Probably we already talked a little about Horace Henderson…You might ask yourself, "Horace ? Isn't it Fletcher Henderson ?"
Also, yes! Horace Henderson (1904 – 1988) was the younger brother of Fletcher Henderson, one of the swing era greats. Being in the shadow of his famous older brother…that's a bit the story of Horace…He deserves better though…As a composer, arranger and pianist he didn't need to take second place to anyone of his generation (except maybe for Duke Ellington). A fair number of songs and arrangements were never credited to Horace, but to his older brother…That might be the reason why his role in the development of orchestral jazz in the 30'ies is so obscured…Without Horace, we wouldn't know the songs we all know like "Christopher Columbus", "Big John Special", "Hot and Anxious" which later became "In The Mood". Let's focus on Horace's Orchestra in 1940…This band only existed for 1 year…but it's recordings show that Horace was no longer riding on the coattails of his brother, but was exploring new approaches in arranging and composing. The recordings of this band are so amazing, by the outstanding soloists, especially trumpeter Emmett Berry, and the matchless precision of the ensemble-playing. On this "swing like mad" tune "I Got Rhythm", the scatty voice of Viola Jefferson is also very captivating, in a very jazzy way. Not much is known about this lady…She also appears on the tune "Oh Boy, I'm In The Groove", also by Horace. But this is "I Got Rhythm"…we're in Chicago febryary 27th, 1940. We have Horace on the piano, fantastic drumming by Oliver Coleman, Elmer Williams great solo tenor sax, Emmett Berry and Ray Nance on the mindblowing trumpets…and…this tune is conducted by…Fletcher Henderson… 😉
Horace Henderson left his outstanding band in october 1940, after just one year…to take over the Nat Towles Band. The reason for this might have been that Horace recognized, as good as his own band was, Towles's band was even better…And if you want to hear it…go look for the 4 sides Horace recorded on october 23, 1940 with the Nat Towles Band !
But this is "I Got Rhythm" (on our Horace Henderson 1940 – TAX m-8013 vinyl).