Henry Godfrey Jazz Orchestra, Attitude & Gratitude Review
by Jeff Becker
Award-winning drummer and composer Henry Godfrey is releasing his debut album, Attitude & Gratitude. Godrey’s influences are broad, pulling from the history of jazz, go-go street bands, and back-beat-driven rock and funk. Godfrey leads the Henry Godfrey Jazz Orchestra from the drum throne through five of his original compositions.
“For McCoy” is a fundamental document of Godfrey’s compositional expertise and style. The composition has a comprehensive flow of textures, counterpoint, and ensemble passages. The piece features Pritesh Walia on guitar delivering a solo narrative of motifs and intelligent lines. Rowan Barcham’s solo on the piano also shares the same qualities. In addition, Godrey’s drumming is supportive and balanced with layers of rhythms. The shout chorus is excellently written and builds to a screaming climax.
“Hot Water” summarizes a big swinging band’s musical aesthetic and energy with a modern overtone. Godfrey’s writing has beautiful counterpoint, which is a hallmark of his compositional and performance style: The piece unfolds just as a story with many turns and twists, but everything is cohesive. In addition, Godfrey’s orchestration and ensemble writing reflects his dedication to expressing his musical perspective. The soloists are Jasmine Sloane on trombone and Anton Derevyanko on tenor saxophone.
Attitude & Gratitude embraces the power of the Henry Godfrey Jazz Orchestra to express the full range of the ensemble’s sonic colors and contrapuntal possibilities. Godfrey has full command of his writing style for the large ensemble, and his taste and musicality are on full display. These songs are vibrant and performed as one unit with Godfrey at the helm from behind the drum kit.
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