Weekend Extra: Joe Henderson

A friend just pointed out that this is the birthday of Joe Henderson (1937-2001). The Rifftides time clock says that I’m punched out for the holiday, but to post a remembrance of Joe I’m sneaking past the security guards and putting up this remarkable performance of a piece associated nearly as closely with Henderson as with the man who wrote it, Kenny Dorham. The initial recording of “Blue Bossa” was in 1963 with Dorham on Page One, Henderson’s debut as a leader. It was one of a remarkable series of Blue Note albums they made together. Perhaps it is not out of the question to imagine that during this 1994 performance in Munich, Henderson was thinking of his old pal. He is the only soloist, soaring on the support he gets from bassist George Mraz, drummer Al Foster and pianist Bheki Mseluku and ending with a quixotic coda—two of them, in fact.

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  1. Rob D says

    One of my top 5 musicians of all time. Just too many LP’s as leader and session man that he graced with his presence to name just one.

    I think my favourite performance is “Lazy Afternoon” on the Basra CD I own led by Pete LaRoca. Good lord! The tone is from some heavenly plane. It’s like distilled essence of melancholy with hope sprinkled in. Makes me feel something different each time I hear it.

    He had a lot of late career success on Verve and I am glad he did. He contributed enormously to jazz over the years.

  2. Peter Bergmann says

    I totally agree. Joe Henderson’s rendition of “Lazy Afternoon” is a gem, a rare miracle of beauty.