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Templejazz

***Joe Henderson***

145 posts in this topic

I've been really latching onto his sound and have lately been enjoying his contributions to several BN sessions such as Little Johnny C, The Sidewinder, Unity and several others. I just picked up In 'n Out and plan to spin it shortly.

Thing is, I haven't been able to verbalize what I like yet cuz my listening experiences w/ him are still inconsistent. I've also barely scratched the surface of what the man accomplished.

Please post your feeling here about whether you like Joe and why. In addition, what non-BN recordings should a newbie focus on to get the full picture?

:rsmile: :rsmile:

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Well Templejazz,

Henderson is one of my favorite sax players. If you can do a search on this site, I believe a lot of posters here have discussed their favorite Henderson material or maybe that was the BNBB.

IF the only BN material you have with Joe as a leader is IN AND OUT, I would not be too quick to ignore his other BN releases, since they are consistently among his best work, things such as Page One, Our Thing, Mode for Joe,etc.

His Milestone stuff has a few clunkers, I am less fond of the fusion and avant garde stuff, but a lot of it is very good. It's all available on the Milestone box set, not all of it is on single cds, but Power to the People, and Live in Japan which are singles are particularly good.

He's a monster, enjoy!

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You MUST acquire "State of the Tenor", his blue note release from the mid eighties. In my opinion, its his greatest album ever.

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Joe is definitely in my top 5 tenor players list. Most of his stuff is good.

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In addition to all of the Blue Notes (and just about as many BN side-man dates as you can find) and select Milestones (I have the box, and I agree with the assessment above: Some of the stuff is superb, some is less so), I recommend Joe's Verve recordings. "Lush Life" and "So Near, So Far" are classics. Great playing all around. The band on "So Near, So Far" is very tight. The only reason I didn't dig it at first is because I hadn't gotten into Scofield yet. "Double Rainbow" is a lovely album, and "Big Band" is quite exciting. Joe's last album, "Porgy and Bess" is perhaps the least safisfying of the Verves, but that doesn't mean it is bad. In fact, it's quite good. It's just not as strong as the others, and it is sad that it was Joe's last hurrah before his final illness. The mature Henderson sound was a wonder to behold.

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You MUST acquire "State of the Tenor", his blue note release from the mid eighties. In my opinion, its his greatest album ever.

I hear the version of 'Beatrice' on this one is excellent.

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If you get a chance, check out Wahoo! and Sweet Honey Bee, both Duke Pearson sides, both with Joe. Great writing and playing by all concerned.

If you want to hear Joe tear up on some standard material, check out Joe Henderson with the Wynton Kelly Trio...two CD's, Straight, No Chaser, and Four!

Some great late 80's early 90's stuff is on Red Records. An Evening with Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden, Al Foster. This was a live concert in Italy. The Standard Joe was a studio date in '91.

The thing I love about Joe's playing is that he fits himself in to each situation in a different way, and is yet always himself. For example, on the Duke Pearson stuff, he plays more out of a "soul" bag. On the Andrew Hill recordings, more "avant."

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So much great music! I can't really pick favorites, they change over time, but the ones that are getting me going most recently are:

Leader dates

IN 'N' OUT

OUR THING

The live Milestone date with Woody Shaw

SO NEAR, SO FAR

The Verve big band session

Sideman

Renee Rosnes - FOR THE MOMENT (Blue Note)

Joanne Brackeen - ANCIENT DYNASTY (Tappan Zee)

Little Johnny C - JOHNNY COLES (Blue Note)

Miroslav Vitous - INFINITE SEARCH (Embryo)

Valery Ponomarev - PROFILE (Reservoir)

Couple of things to comment on: first, Joe seems to have been, for lack of a better way of putting it, a "jazz feminist" in the best way, approaching collaborations with female musicians as true equals but in a refreshingly unshowy, "I'm making a statement" way (I regret that I never did get a chance to hear the all-female group he had behind him). Second, the guy just enlivened everything he played on. On the Rosnes date, the music is kicked up several notches in the intensity department on the tracks he's featured on (including a knock-out version of Woody Shaw's "The Organ Grinder.").

Edited by DrJ

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His Blue Note debut on Andrew Hill's Black Fire still amazes me. All his personal traits were there from the beginning. Soul and avant-garde all in one.

And he was such a nice guy. He once stepped into a club near Frankfurt where I played with a singer because he was in town and wanted to check out the place, as he was going to play there too on his next German tour. Sat down at our table during the break and was so natural without any star behaviour. He had a large following in Germany for many years before his "comeback" with the Verve albums.

I'd recommend all the Blue Notes as a leader and with Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan, Horace Silver and Andrew Hill, the Milestones - he was so versatile during this period - and the Village Vanguard trios - great stuff, especially his versions of Monk tunes: why didn't Verve have him do a Monk tribute?

Edited by mikeweil

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I will just add to the pile of non Blue Note releases worth checking out - If You're Not Part of the Solution, You're Part of the Problem - a live date from the Lighthouse on Milestone with Woody Shaw. Just listened to it again the other day. Very good stuff.

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His Blue Note debut on Andrew Hill's Black Fire still amazes me. All his personal traits were there from the beginning. Soul and avant-garde all in one.

Wasn't his debut on Kenny Dorham's Una Mas? Anyway, I like Joe a lot as well. His contributions as sideman were usually excellent -- and he ascends to deity level on The Real McCoy and on Larry Young's Unity. ZOLTAN. It's also nice to hear him with Pharoah Sanders on Alice Coltrane's Ptah the El Daoud; it seems that this one is always overlooked when people talk about Joe.]

As for the dates as a leader, the BNs from the 60s are all good. My faves are Our Thing (w/Kenny, Andrew, & Pete LaRoca) and Inner Urge (w/McCoy, Elvin, and Bob Cranshaw). My favorite of the Milestones is Power to the People -- some of the most tasteful use of electric piano on a jazz (rather than fusion) album that I've heard. Joe Henderson in Japan is also really good, though here the e-piano gets a little annoying.

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Funny, after all the sessions that people have mentioned, I have many of them, just have never lended any substantial thought to Joe's playing on them. That's gonna change.

I think OUR THING is in my top 5 favorite BNs. Great compositions and playing all 'round. Andrew Hill lends a particular flavor I like too.

The stuff he did w/ Woody Shaw, is any of it available outside the Milestone box? I've never heard of the LIghthouse date.

Also, I saw POWER TO THE PEOPLE the other day in a local store. Might have to be the next purchase. I remember it being mentioned on the old BNBB

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again..... .....I'm not sure Joe ever turned in a sub-standard performance.

In fact, the ONLY album of his that I have anything less than great things to say about, is his last one "Porgy & Bess", and really - it's not Joe's playing on it that keeps me from having liked it.

I've loved damn near every album I've ever heard with Joe on it, including his many sideman dates. I'm not talking just about his 60's work, but everything of his in the 70's, 80's, and 90's too (both as a leader and as a sideman).

How that there hasn't been any activity in releasing any previously unreleased Joe (since his death), is totally beyond me. :wacko::wacko: There have to be some live tapes floating around that are worthy of being issued, either of Joe as a leader, or as a sideman. Surely Verve must have recorded him 'live' during his successful run with them in the 90's?? And surely there have to be some live dates of his floating around from the late 70's and 80's (similar to the three Woody Shaw "High Note" CD we've seen in the past 3 years).

Where's some more Joe??? Even as a sideman?? There have to be some great tapes out there, wouldn't you think???

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Joe Henderson's Contemporary album 'Relaxin' at Camarillo' has not been mentioned

yet. It's one of his best. Chick Corea and Tony Williams are among the musicians playing

on that one. Henderson's version of 'My One and Only Love' is a gem.

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All the BN's are great, but the two I most often play are both non BN:

So Near , So Far and State Of The Tenor. Both are indespensible.

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Where's some more Joe??? Even as a sideman?? There have to be some great tapes out there, wouldn't you think???

not unreleased, but not mentioned often, and a very good session, featuring Chick Corea, Ron Carter and Billy Higgins, rec. 1980:

B0000046Q7.03.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

And anyone who likes Johnny Coles' "Little Johnny C" should check out the first Blue Mitchell BN date, with a very similar line up (Leo Wright's there, too, and as the Coles date, it seems to be very much influenced by the presence of Duke Pearson)

ubu

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All the BN's are great, but the two I most often play are both non BN:

So Near , So Far and State Of The Tenor. Both are indespensible.

'State of the Tenor', volume 1 and 2, recorded at the Village Vanguard are

Blue Note records. Some of the best post-Lion/Wolff BN as a matter of fact.

Indispensable is the right word for these

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I'd say there's a definite need to have this puppy widely available again.....

B00000K21R.03.LZZZZZZZ.gif

hellyeah!

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They must have been tranquilized when they put that out as a Connoisseur CD! It was practically unavailable in Germany as advance orders had sold the first pressing. Now here's a case for immediate RVG treatment! If it was a Henderson date .... if it had been a 1940's session, they would have reissued it under Henderson's name in no time!

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His Blue Note debut on Andrew Hill's Black Fire still amazes me. All his personal traits were there from the beginning. Soul and avant-garde all in one.

Wasn't his debut on Kenny Dorham's Una Mas?

You're right!

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Basra may still be available as a Spanish Blue Note from the "freshsoundrecords" website for under €6, notwithstanding whether it is being offered legally or not (I believe it's a legal pressing, just not sure whether it's a legal method of sale or not).

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One of my very favorite tenors! Always sounded fantastic.

The collection of BNs with Kenny Dorham (5 albums) are great to hear, as these two were so compatible.

No-one seems to have mentioned "Point of Departure", where Joe's contributions are, as usual, wonderful. (Actually, that counts as a sixth Dorham/Henderson album, but it isn't their show.)

I agree with the assessments of the Milestone box. Also, when you hear that, you really miss the production by Alfred Lion and Rudy's clear sound. The Milstone engineering (and remastering) is poor.

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PAGE ONE is still the Henderson BN that I return to most often. One of the greatest BN's of all time, IMO.

I too enjoy some of the Verves, especially LUSH LIFE and DOUBLE RAINBOW.

I agree about many of the fine dates by Joe as a sideman too. He was involved in some classics! IDLE MOMENTS, THE SIDEWINDER, SONG FOR MY FATHER... etc

Of course, one of the greatest compliments we can pay him is that he had a distinct and highly developed sound. One of the great masters, to be sure.

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