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Blog // Sounds
March 21, 2011

Scott Henderson

Scott Henderson was in Hong Kong last week for two shows at the Skylark Lounge. In fact, we were lucky to see Scott at all, as he was in Northern Japan during the recent earthquake. He was due to give a workshop the day before the gig, but had to cancel that after issues with […]

Scott Henderson On Stage In Hong Kong

Scott Henderson was in Hong Kong last week for two shows at the Skylark Lounge. In fact, we were lucky to see Scott at all, as he was in Northern Japan during the recent earthquake. He was due to give a workshop the day before the gig, but had to cancel that after issues with the flights out of Japan.

The last time Scott was in town, he played at the large Concert Hall in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. It was a superstar gig – with Jeff Berlin on bass and Dennis Chambers on drums. However, I’ve never liked the Concert Hall as a venue for jazz and it was nice to see him this time in the much smaller confines of the Skylark Lounge.

As you can probably guess from the quick iPhone photo above, I was seated only a few feet away from Scott. This position gave me a great view of the way he works his (custom model Suhr) guitar. Scott is well known for being a tone obsessive, noticing everything from the build and woods of his guitars, to the fine textures of effect sounds and cable performance. But, he is also a master of working the guitar – changing picking position, angles of attack and finger pressure to coax a range of tones and moods out of each note and phrase.

On the night he was supported by fellow Xotic endorsee Travis Carlton on bass and Alan Hertz on drums. It takes a lot of work to make a fusion power trio work and at times these guys made it look easy. Of course, it is anything but straightforward to play music this richly arranged and harmonically complex.

The crowd really warmed to the trio, which is saying something because many of those in attendance were musicians, including most of the well known Jazz players in town.

In fact, I walked home from the gig feeling personally challenged. This is the kind of music I was playing back in the mid 90s. While doing the BerkleeMusic guitar certificate, I realised that there is still a lot of this kind of sound left inside me.

Scott is one of those players who inspires a lot of guitarists. Chatting briefly with him after the show his easy manner with people was evident. It’s no surprise that he is also known as a great teacher (his instructional video, Melodic Phrasing, is excellent). It’s shame his workshop was cancelled and I hope he can do another one in Hong Kong soon.

If he does, I’ll certainly be there, taking notes.

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