Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 62
Corea, Wayne Shorter, and
Henderson made his mark
in the fusion genre but insists
he's a blues player at heart.
Hardly an empty claim, telling examples abound in his
improvisations. His most
jazzy florid passage work is
neatly offset by soulful phrasing and frequent allusions to
core blues-rock mannerisms.
As a jazz-rock musician, his
playing embodies the best of
both; he conveys the puckish humor, unpredictable
twists and turns, aggressive
rhythmic attack, and bluesinformed hard-rock attitude
of a Jeff Beck along with the
intervallic expansions, melodic complexity, harmonic
freedom, and flowing legato
technique of a Holdsworth.
Add a healthy portion of bebop
and modern jazz linear sophistication, swing rhythm sense
and advanced note-to-chord
relationships and you get an
idea of what makes him such
a distinctive player - he's an
unusual hybrid on either side
of the musical fence.
This passage illustrates Henderson's compowith a reshaped whole-step/half-step pattern
sitionally guided improvisation style. Note his
in measure 3, which he renders as a convoluted
contain atypical post-bop jazz
emphasis on rhythmic phrasing and discreet use
blues-scale lick. In measure 7, he plays another
melodies based on extended
of space throughout as he applies a number of
favorite diminished-scale device. Here, he exarpeggios, superimposed
interesting sounds over an open vamp and ostinato
ploits uncommon tritone chord-on-chord sounds,
alternative triads and subbackground. In this example, he uses the dimincombining arpeggios of E7# 9 and Bb7# 9 chords,
stitution chords, synthetic
drawn directly from the underlying diminished
ished scale exclusively and milks its synthetic
scales, wide-interval lines with
scale, as superimposed triad (for example,
symmetrical structure of consecutive whole steps
angular leaps, and legato pasE7# 9=G major and E major triads) groupings.
and half steps for a variety of melodies; beginning
sages taken at hyper-kinetic
speeds. He favors a processed
high-gain rock-guitar tone with saturated distorFunk and R&B figures prominently in patterns in the intro and theme of "Elvis at the
tion that facilitates sax-inspired passages and/or Scott's style. He noted his rhythm playing in Hop." An instructive case in point.
feedback-held sustaining blues notes. On the rock the intro of "Elvis at the Hop" was inspired
side, he exploits bluesy string bends, often taken by the groove of Prince's "Release It." Indeed, ESSENTIAL LISTENING
to Albert King extremes (as in "Big Girl Blues"), many of his funky chord patterns have their
Tribal Tech, Dog Party, and Vital Tech Tones
characteristic pentatonic and blues-scale licks roots in the music of James Brown, Stax and are important Henderson recordings, each
played in tight short themes and as high-velocity Motown, Tower of Power and other classic R&B containing contrasting aspects of his hybrid
flurries, jabbing rhythmic episodes, heavy-metal musicians. In his funk rhythm work he often style. Also worth the search is his work with
and post-Zeppelin sounds, and harmonics a reverts to a cleaner, brighter cutting Strat/Tele the Chick Corea Elektric Band.
la Van Halen. He frequently adds vocalesque tone reminiscent of Jimmy Nolen, Al McKay,
color and stylistic sound effects to phrases with Niles Rogers and Prince. In addition to the ESSENTIAL VIEWING
the vibrato bar, utilizing all manners of pitch timbre he thoughtfully applies many of the
Scott Henderson: Jazz-Rock Mastery (DVD,
bending, wobbles, pre-bend dips into and dives stylistic devices associated with the R&B genre. 2007) is a telling instructional video that conout of important melody notes, as well as smooth Consider the ninth chords, multi-purposed tains and explains many of his improvisational
singing and exaggerated vibrato.
fourth dyads, and double-stop rhythm-guitar concepts, scale and triad usage, and rhythmic