The book of Henry Mancini has gems for each season. Joe Locke gives us a quartet breeze to please, exchanging ideas with pianist Billy Childs, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Gene Jackson. It's not slow, but it sure is hot.
After a period of inactivity, the Blue Note label returned to the front line with an all-star concert on Feb. 22, 1985. After the concert's opening selection, heard here, it became clear that the world would welcome this new energy from one of the premier labels in the world of jazz. The entire concert, with many more fabulous musicians, is out on DVD.
The scene was Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. It's the end of the session, with the music of Billy Strayhorn: duets, trios, quartets and quintets. For the finale, all the lights in the studio were turned off. You couldn't see Joe Henderson through the glass, but you could hear him — more than four minutes of pure magic with a man and his horn. It's the perfect companion to any hot August night.