Fletcher Henderson

Fletcher Henderson was the great visionary of orchestral jazz, a swing pioneer leading a band whose ranks included the greatest instrumentalists of his time. This 3CD set — prepared by Laurent Verdeaux, reputed for making it possible to preserve the historic recordings that Hugues and Louis Panassié made for their Jazz Odyssey label — comes as a surprisingly unexpected tribute to the music of this famous bandleader. Thanks to the painstaking work accomplished by sound engineer Didier Périer in restoring Fletcher’s music, we can now listen to his orchestra under the best conditions ever. Patrick FRÉMEAUX Why this particular formation and its trumpeters? Because the big band of Fletcher Henderson was famous for its trumpet sections, yet it arrived too early to be recorded directly, and is only known to us on record after countless technical issues were overcome — the nature of the sound-takes themselves, their running-times, manufacturing flaws — leaving the band’s overall sound-image slightly muddied, and even eroded. Using computer tools we had available and with recourse to various other original solutions, we have tried to do more justice to the orchestra, and relieve it of some of the weight of its years, in order to come closer to its true, sensationally colourful sound, and so allow a glimpse of the reasons why those who heard the band in action praised it to the skies, way above the others. Laurent VERDEAUX / Didier PÉRIER