Featuring Alice Coltrane
The Elements originally released in 1973 on Milestone arrived during a time of discovery for Joe Henderson, a time to set aside the post-bop instrumentation and repertoire he was identified with and branch out into other realms. What transpired is in a league all its own. Present in the four-part improvisation that makes up the album, "Fire", "Air", "Water" and "Earth" are elements of spiritual jazz-fusion and beyond - celestial, cosmic, and trance-inducing in nature.
Alice Coltrane’s contributions on harp and piano set the tone as she weaves sublime chordal textures through the layers of improvisation. Assisting Henderson and Coltrane were a group of sympathetic explorers-- violin original Michael White, bass giant Charlie Haden, and the multifaceted percussionist Kenneth Nash. Latin American, Indian, and Native American strains enter the mix as Henderson applies the heat and mercurial invention of his more conventional work to these open-ended settings. While the music is enhanced with overdubbing in spots, the true magic of The Elements emanates from the musicians' collective genius at listening and responding to each other – a gift of extreme magnitude.