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Scott Henderson — Karnevel!
((Not on label) no#, 2024, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-02-13

Karnevel! Cover art

Scott Henderson’s People Mover (2019) was a great album of guitar trio music seamlessly straddling rock and jazz. Karnevel! carries on from that high point with eleven more instrumental gems. Henderson is again working with Romain Labaye (bass) and Archibald Ligonnière (drums), taking the basic tracks recorded live in the studio by the trio and layering on additional guitar parts for more depth and variety. The resulting recording is full of impact and has a very natural sound. Henderson’s playing is informed by blues, but filtered through sophisticated jazz chording and phrasing and peppered with rock shredding. “Haunted Mansion” is like an old-school blues tune seen through a funhouse mirror with distinctive note bends and tasty chords. Then “Covid Vaccination” takes off with a tricky funk that’s probably in 4/4 but has so many irregular accents that you’d swear it’s in 13 or something. Once again, Labaye is crazy good on the bass and Ligonnière is super tight on drums. Throw this into a playlist and watch your friends’ ears perk up as they prepare to ask you “What the heck is this?” Henderson and cohorts show us that you can be technically precise and highly musical at the same time, and that you don’t have to resort to lightning shred licks to be impressive. Karenevel! is a master class in how to do a power trio right. Also: Daaaamn!

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Scott Henderson


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