Joe Henderson – Canyon Lady (1975)

Canyon Lady is a jazz-funk album by American saxist Joe Henderson, released in May 1975 on Milestone. Notable players on the album include keyboardist George Duke, trombonist Julian Priester, trumpeter Luis Gasca, and reedists Hadley Caliman and Ray Pizzi. The album was recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, Calif., on October 1–3, 1973.

“Tres Palabras” begins with slow, bare sax notes in the key of Dm. Piano, bass, and drums enter at 1:00, forming a low-key quartet arrangement. The brass swells up at 2:45, heralding a paced, punctual section with free flowing sax and Latin percussion. A sparkly Fender solo takes hold at 6:00 amid persistent congas and timbales. A more subdued, somber sax showcase commences at 7:20. The full band reconvenes in third-stream mode for a lavish climax at 9:00.

Faint, echoey keyboard sounds beacon “Las Palmas.” At 1:04, an octave-darting, 6/4 piano ostinato commences in A. Fluttering reeds emerge at 2:00 amid Latinized rhythmic accents. Blocky Rhodes keys further offset the dueling winds of Henderson and Gasca as the track approaches midpoint. The sax becomes ever louder and defiant of its surroundings at 5:00. Various instruments emerge and submerge within the ostinato figure. The entirety of brass swells at 7:15 for a torrential two-minute blowout.

“Canyon Lady” begins with light sax, double-bass and congas over a slow, simple piano figure in E♭/D♭. The sax becomes increasingly schizophrenic amid the sedate backdrop. Trumpet blasts herald each new solo turn as the spotlight rotates back and forth between timbales, sax, and Fender. Halfway through, Duke enters with an oily, glistening two-minute Rhodes showcase. The track concludes as a fuller, louder replica of its initial self.

A1. “Tres Palabras” (10:11)
A2. “Las Palmas” (9:54)
B1. “Canyon Lady” (9:07)
B2. “All Things Considered” (8:38)

Joe Henderson — tenor saxophone, composition (A2)
Mark Levine — piano, composition (B1–2)
John Heard — bass
Eric Gravatt — drums
Carmelo Garcia — timbales
Víctor “Negrito” Pantoja — congas
Julian Priester — trombone (A1, B3–4)
Luis Gasca — trumpet (A2–B2), flugelhorn
George Duke — electric piano (A1–B1)
Oscar Brashear — trumpet (B3–4)
John Hunt — trumpet
Hadley Caliman — flute (A1), tenor saxophone (B1)
Ray Pizzi — flute (A1)
Vince Denham — flute
Nicholas Tenbroek — trombone
Francisco Aguabella — congas
Osvaldo Farres — composition (A1)

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