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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Crotchet
Midprice

THE DEFINITIVE JOE HENDERSON


VERVE 589 840-2





Joe Henderson plays tenor saxophone on all tracks accompanied by :


1. Recorda Me
Kenny Dorham, trumpet; McCoy Tyner, piano; Butch Warren, bass; Pete La Roca, drums.
"Page One" Blue Note B2-98795.
1963


2. La Mesha
as 1.

3. Inner Urge
McCoy Tyner, piano; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Elvin Jones, drums.
"Inner Urge" Blue Note B2-84189
1964

4. Mode For Joe
Lee Morgan, trumpet; Curtis Fuller, trombone; Bobby Hutcherson, vibes; Cedar Walton, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Joe Chambers, drums.
"Mode For Joe" Blue Note B2-84227
1966

5. Beatrice
Ron Carter, bass; Al Foster, drums.
"The State Of The Tenor" Blue Note ( 2 CDs) B2-28879
1985

6. Isfahan
Christian McBride, bass.
"Lush Life -The Music Of Billy Strayhorn" Verve 314 511 779-2
1991

7. Lush Life
Tenor Solo
As 6.

8. Without A Song
Marcus Belgrave, Virgil Jones, Lew Soloff, Idrees Sulieman, trumpet; Robin Eubanks, Jimmy Knepper, Kiane Zawadi, trombone; Douglas Purviance, bass trombone; Bob Porcelli, Pete Yellin, alto saxophone; Craig Handy, Rich Perry, tenor saxophone; Joe Temperley, baritone saxophone; Ronnie Matthews, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Joe Chambers, drums; Don Sickler, conductor.
"Big Band" Verve 314 533 451 2
1992

9. Miles Ahead
John Scofield, guitar; Dave Holland, bass; Al Foster, drums.
"So Near, So Far (Musings For Miles) " Verve 314 517 674-2
1992

10. Triste
Herbie Hancock, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Jack De Johnette, drums.
"Double Rainbow -The Music Of Antonio Carlos Jobim" Verve 314 527 222-2
1994

11. Felicidade
Eliane Elias, piano; Oscar Castro-Neves, percussion; Nico Assumpcao, bass; Paulo Braga, drums, percussion.
As 10.




This disc is a must for anyone who loves modern Jazz but is unfamiliar with the work of the late, great Joe Henderson. It is also absolutely essential listening for the person who is only aware of certain eras of this wonderful artist's career. I have to confess that if I were to select my all-time top ten tenor saxophone players "Joe Hen " would be there as a matter of course. Henderson was a musician who only received his dues in terms of recognition during the last decade of his life. Nevertheless his influence was profound. He may not have been as much of an innovator as Coltrane or Rollins, but I am certain that in the passage of time his influence on other players will be seen to be almost as strong.

The compilation here covers his early and later output, the missing years are to be found on " The Complete Milestone Recordings ". The early Blue Notes feature the young Henderson with his ground-breaking "Hard-Bop " groups which, more often than not, played his wonderfully idiosyncratic compositions. He claimed to have written "Recorda Me " whilst still in his teens and continued to perform this delightful Bossa-Nova throughout his career.

Henderson's tone was one of the most personal signatures in the history of the music - like Lucky Thompson's it can best be described as middleweight. However, if one listens carefully to any of the selections on this disc, it must be surely noted that it was a sound of great beauty and expression. There was a subtlety about Joe's playing that was quite unusual amongst his peers. Perhaps the best comparison can be found in the harmonic and rhythmic originality of Hank Mobley - the two players were quite different, but each was possessed of a unique and unusual voice.

The later selections are from Henderson's years on the Verve label. Someone came up with the bright idea of showcasing him on a series of " songbook " albums which somehow focussed his later career and certainly introduced him to a wider audience. "Isfahan" and Lush Life" are from possibly the best ( outside of Ellington ) album of the compositions of Billy Strayhorn. "Lush Life," which is unaccompanied, actually won a Grammy. It is by anyone's standards a tour de force which will surely , with the passage of time, be ranked alongside "West End Blues," "Body And Soul" and "Giant Steps ".

The remainder of the pieces are all of a similar standard and it would be wrong to single out any one for particular mention. This album represents the work of one of the few absolute masters. It is an essential record, or, better still, seek out the original albums - they are all still available.



Dick Stafford

 



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