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JANUARY 22

“Verve JazzFest”

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In the tradition of Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic, Verve Records’ new barnstormer brings the swing across the country. While two of the three performers at “Verve JazzFest” have newish releases, neither Joe Henderson (Big Band) or Charlie Haden (Beyond the Missouri Sky: Short Stories, a series of duets with guitarist Pat Metheny) will perform with the distinctive lineups from their recent recordings. Henderson (pictured) will be traveling with a trio comprised of drummer Al Foster and bassist George Mraz, but the tenor saxophonist’s trio playing is even more invigorating than his big-band blowing, as he proved on his 1985 albums, State of the Tenor: Volume 1 and 2. While some have claimed that Henderson’s recent acceptance as a tenor titan is through attrition (none of the true greats is still alive), only a deaf ear can’t hear the uniqueness of Henderson’s horn. As the low-tone man with both Ornette Coleman and his own Liberation Orchestra, bassist Haden made his name on the free scene. But his Quartet West (with whom he appears tonight) revels in romance. His new album swoons, too, but with meditations and lullabies (including two themes from Cinema Paradiso) swaying under the power of Metheny’s sinuous acoustic guitar (Metheny reveals himself to be an appealing and lyrical player when he doesn’t hide inside his guitar synth). Rounding out the “nothing to promote lineup” is the Kansas City All-Stars, boasting many of the players featured in Robert Altman’s forgotten flop from last summer, including two of today’s brightest players, James Carter and Don Byron. At 8 p.m. at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $28.50-32.50. (202) 994-6800. (Christopher Porter)