6 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson’s relationship with Blue Note begins with this crisp hard-bop album from 1963. Flaunting his expressive talents in the themes, he's soulfully inventive throughout, with a richly varied solo on "Jinrikisha." But trumpeter Kenny Dorham, who composed opener "Blue Bossa," nearly steals the show, playing spitfire-fast on "Homestretch" and boasting a burnished tone on "La Mesha." The band also includes drummer Pete La Roca, bassist Butch Warren, and pianist McCoy Tyner (who kept his name off the cover art, due to contractual obligations).

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson’s relationship with Blue Note begins with this crisp hard-bop album from 1963. Flaunting his expressive talents in the themes, he's soulfully inventive throughout, with a richly varied solo on "Jinrikisha." But trumpeter Kenny Dorham, who composed opener "Blue Bossa," nearly steals the show, playing spitfire-fast on "Homestretch" and boasting a burnished tone on "La Mesha." The band also includes drummer Pete La Roca, bassist Butch Warren, and pianist McCoy Tyner (who kept his name off the cover art, due to contractual obligations).

TITLE TIME

About Joe Henderson

Joe Henderson is proof that jazz can sell without watering down the music; it just takes creative marketing. Although his sound and style were virtually unchanged from the mid-'60s, Joe Henderson's signing with Verve in 1992 was treated as a major news event by the label (even though he had already recorded many memorable sessions for other companies). His Verve recordings had easy-to-market themes (tributes to Billy Strayhorn, Miles Davis, and Antonio Carlos Jobim) and, as a result, he became a national celebrity and a constant poll winner while still sounding the same as when he was in obscurity in the 1970s.

The general feeling is that it couldn't have happened to a more deserving jazz musician. After studying at Kentucky State College and Wayne State University, Joe Henderson played locally in Detroit before spending time in the military (1960-1962). He played briefly with Jack McDuff and then gained recognition for his work with Kenny Dorham (1962-1963), a veteran bop trumpeter who championed him and helped Henderson get signed to Blue Note. Henderson appeared on many Blue Note sessions both as a leader and as a sideman, spent 1964-1966 with Horace Silver's Quintet, and during 1969-1970 was in Herbie Hancock's band. From the start, he had a very distinctive sound and style which, although influenced a bit by both Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, also contained a lot of brand new phrases and ideas. Henderson had long been able to improvise in both inside and outside settings, from hard bop to freeform. In the 1970s, he recorded frequently for Milestone and lived in San Francisco, but was somewhat taken for granted. The second half of the 1980s found him continuing his freelancing and teaching while recording for Blue Note, but it was when he hooked up with Verve that he suddenly became famous. Virtually all of his recordings are currently in print on CD, including a massive collection of his neglected (but generally rewarding) Milestone dates. On June 30, 2001, Joe Henderson passed away due to heart failure after a long battle with emphysema. ~ Scott Yanow

HOMETOWN
Lima, OH
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
April 24, 1937

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