On his last visit to Chicago tenor saxist Joe Henderson surprised audiences by all but ignoring the music he had played on his then-current Lush Life–the album that made him Down Beat’s 1992 “Jazz Musician of the Year.” One dares to hope he’ll take a different tack this time around, if only because his subsequent album–So Near, So Far–has even more to offer than its predecessor. (One also takes hope in the fact that Henderson brings with him two collaborators from that album, drummer Al Foster and Dave Holland, probably the best bassist in jazz.) In tackling lesser-known songs from the Miles Davis repertoire, Henderson faced the significant challenge of setting his interpretations against Davis’s original (and usually definitive) presentations of the material. That the project so wildly succeeded says plenty about Henderson’s great strengths: his unflappable modern swing; his burred and woody tone (with its fluttery, expressionistic upper register); and the nomadic but incisive improvisations that have long made him a favorite among other musicians. The tenor of our times? Maybe; in any case, it’s this tenor’s time, and you don’t want to miss him. Henderson will share the program with vibist Gary Burton’s reconstituted quartet, featuring the return of the gifted pianist Makoto Ozone. Wednesday, 8 PM, Murray Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Carol Friedman.