JJ 01/64: Joe Henderson – Page One

Sixty years ago Sinclair Traill looked for the good in the saxman's debut but ended up asking why so much modern jazz was on the sad side. First published in Jazz Journal January 1964


Joe Henderson, a newcomer to the jazz scene, is on this hearing another of those tenor saxophonists I referred to in a review last month – a player of stature with good roots, but with not quite en­ough personal approach to chuck him out of the rut. I may be wrong, for this is his first album, but the style for me is too full of Rollins-isms and Coltrane-isms to be natural. No originality.

But this is in no way a bad album and I know a lot of people will rate it highly, if only for the extremely lively rhythm section, who work beautifully as a unit, and be­cause of the always keen, lively playing of Kenny Dorham. He plays excellently and very melodically on his own fascina­ting Bossa (a tune he describes in his notes as ‘a mystic Kenny Dorham origi­nal’) and the blues Out Of The Night.

Henderson’s best piece is the up-tempo Homestretch, a lively blues which gets away from the somewhat melancholy tone of all the other tracks. Why is it that so many modern sessions, such as this, feature compositions that are for the most part a little on the sad side? Ain’t jazz fun anymore?

Blue Bossa; La Mesha; Homestretch (21 min) – Recorda-Me; Jinrikisha; Out Of The Night (20 min)
Kenny Dorham (tpt); Joe Henderson (ten); McCoy Turner (p); Butch Warren (bs); Pete LaRoca (d).
(Blue Note 4140 12inLP 42s. 6d.)