Joe Henderson

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Joe Henderson

Joe Henderson (born April 24, 1937 in Lima , Ohio , † June 30, 2001 in San Francisco , California ) was an American jazz musician ( tenor saxophonist ).

Live and act

Joe Henderson grew up as one of fifteen children in poor circumstances. According to his own words, his first contact with music was on the “ Jazz at the Philharmonic ” records by one of his brothers. After he had succeeded in persuading his father to buy a saxophone, Lester Young's music gave the first pieces for practice; other early role models were Charlie Parker , Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz .

Henderson wrote his first pieces for the school band in high school, then studied music at Kentucky State College and Wayne University in Detroit ; The first recordings were made in Joe Brazil's rehearsal room . He then did his military service from 1960 to 1962, where he was a member of an army band in Fort Benning (Georgia) . He won first place at an Army talent show with a four-man band and toured the world with a band for troop entertainment. There was a session in Paris with Kenny Clarke and Kenny Drew .

After his discharge from the Army in the late summer of 1962, he went to New York , where he met the trumpeter Kenny Dorham and worked with him and Jack McDuff . In 1963 he was signed to the Blue Note label and in April the recordings for Kenny Dorham's album Una Mas were made . Blue Note first released the album Page One , recorded in June , which was Henderson's first album under his own name. It became one of the label's most successful and is one of the classic albums of the hard bop era. The Dorham / Henderson quintet recorded a total of five albums, with a rhythm section from McCoy Tyner or Herbie Hancock on piano, bassist Butch Warren and Pete LaRoca or Tony Williams on drums.

In the following years he worked as a sideman on numerous albums, including by Horace Silver , in whose quintet he replaced Junior Cook ( Song for My Father , 1963), Grant Green ( Idle Moments , 1963), on Lee Morgan's soul-jazz classic The Sidewinder and Andrew Hill's legendary Point of Departure (both 1964) as well as with Blue Mitchell , Woody Shaw and others with; During this time he also brought out his own publications. Henderson now played alongside Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill and briefly with Miles Davis and the group Blood, Sweat & Tears . In 1967 he worked on McCoy Tyner's key work The Real McCoy .

From the late 1960s on Orrin Keepnews label Milestone released Henderson records, on which he followed Miles Davis's " fusion " of jazz with elements of rock and with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter , Jack DeJohnette and Airto Moreira also partially with the same Musicians acted. Henderson added one or more percussionists and a Fender Rhodes piano, then a synthesizer , and he experimented for a short time with his own sound, alienated his tenor saxophone with effects devices and also played various flutes and soprano saxophone. Titles such as Power to the People (1969) and Black Is the Color (1972) also reflect his identification with the Afro-American emancipation movement of that time. However, these albums were received ambiguously by jazz critics. 1979/1980 he worked inter alia. with Chick Corea and Ron Carter ( Mirror, Mirror ) together; In 1985 he appeared in a trio with Carter and Al Foster , released as The State of the Tenor - Live at the Village Vanguard . In 1987 he made a guest appearance at the Genoa Jazz Festival , where he was accompanied by Charlie Haden and Al Foster.

After a long time without publications under his own name, in which he inter alia. toured with the Paris Reunion Band, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and also with his own band and was involved in the recording of Wynton Marsalis ' album Thick in the South , Henderson signed a recording deal with the Verve label and put three in the 1990s Concept albums dedicated to Billy Strayhorn , composer Duke Ellingtons ( Lush Life , 1992), Miles Davis ( So Near, So Far , 1993) and Tom Jobim ( Double Rainbow , 1995). The tribute album for Jobim consisted of two suites, one recorded by a Brazilian band around guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves , and the other by an American quartet with Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride and Jack DeJohnette.

Between 1992 and 1996 there was also a big band production under the direction of arranger and producer Bob Belden ( Big Band , 1996). In 1997, an interpretation of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess followed , in which Tommy Flanagan , Dave Holland (bass) and Jack DeJohnette played along and Chaka Khan sang Summertime and Sting It Ain't Necessarily So.

Joe Henderson, who always saw himself as a learner and seeker, suffered a severe stroke in early 1998 and had to end his musical career. He died of heart failure on June 30, 2001 in San Francisco.

Benny Golson paid tribute to his colleague: "Joe had one foot in the present, the other in the future, and he was just a step away from immortality."

Works (selection)

Box sets and compilations

  • The Blue Note Years (4 CDs, Blue Note - 1963–1990)
  • The Milestone Years (8 CDs, Fantasy / Milestone - 1967-1976)
  • The Best of Blue Note Years (Blue Note - 1963–1985)
  • Ballads & Blues (Blue Note - 1963–1985)

Web links and sources

Individual references and comments

  1. Ben Ratliff: Joe Henderson, Saxophonist And Composer, Dies at 64 . In: The New York Times . July 3, 2001 ( [accessed January 23, 2021]).


  1. Information on Henderson's early days according to Kenny Dorham in the cover text of Page One (1963).
  2. The cover title of Page One (1963) did not list McCoy Tyner because he was on Impulse! Records was under contract; therefore it was called: "Joe Henderson Page One , Kenny Dorham, Butch Warren, Pete LaRoca / etc.". However, he was named on the back of the album.
  3. Due to health problems, Davis expanded his (second) quintet in early 1967 with Joe Henderson as a further soloist. On the one hand for an engagement in the New York Village Vanguard and for a tour of the World Series of Jazz in February and March d. J. through fourteen cities. See Jack Chambers: Milestones 2: The Music and Times of Miles Davis Since 1960. Beech Tree Books, New York 1985, p. 100.