Al Henderson’s name may be known to you as a founder of Time Warp, a long-lived quartet that comfortably walks any number of lines: sorta swingy avant-garde bluesy jazz. On Fathers And Sons the angle is swingy still, but also more into Latinish walking-with-one-foot-in-the-gutter rhythms, with a definite Kurt Weill/Berlin ’20s cabaret loucheness. And funny. Definitely funny. The audience at Toronto’s Montreal Bistro was having a good time when this was taped in late summer 2003.
The reed pair of Alex Dean and Pat LaBarbera covers six instruments, with Richard Whiteman at the piano, and drummer Barry Romberg with Henderson’s bass supplying the foundation.
All the tunes are by Henderson, and the humour is in the writing, but it’s drawn out by players themselves. It’s not all for laughs, of course. On the title tune LaBarbera’s tenor reminds us of the spirituality of his early guide John Coltrane. And the slow tempo of Marcus M. brings out the loveliest sounds of both tenor saxes, wrapping themselves around a warm, bluesy theme. Also on the quieter side is Waiting For Spring, featuring the only LaBarbera soprano sax work. Dean’s tenor follows, building strongly to a contrasting piano solo and strong finish.
The bookends are the driving opener Darwin’s Ghost and the raucous closer Millennium Jump. Al Henderson works without a net, but you’re never in danger of not having a good time with this gang.