Joe Henderson (Saxophone)
- Blue Bossa
- La Mesha
- Out Of The Night
Henderson’s illustrious recording life began in the early ’60s with Blue Note. He launched as a leader in 1963 with his Blue Note debut Page One, a remarkable quintet session with trumpeter Kenny Dorham, his collaborator who contributed two originals to the six-track album and also wrote the liner notes claiming the “goat-bearded astronaut of the tenor sax” was “one of the most musical young saxophonists since Charlie Parker.” High praise, which Henderson brought to full fruition on “Page One”
Joining them was the stellar rhythm section of bassist Butch Warren, drummer Pete LaRoca, and pianist McCoy Tyner, who is referred to on the album cover as “etc.” because he had just signed a recording contract with Impulse!
The hard-bop-heavy album not only opened the ears of the jazz world to Henderson’s exuberant tenor sax voice, but also helped establish him as a session man for other Blue Note recordings, most notably classic albums by Horace Silver (Song for My Father), Lee Morgan (The Sidewinder), and Andrew Hill (Point of Departure), all released in 1964.
Page One opens with a Dorham double bill: the lilting, bossa-heavy “Blue Bossa,” with the trumpeter and tenor playing the infectious lead with harmonic beauty before Henderson delivers a smoky, spirited solo, and the balladic “La Mesha,” played with soulful tenor grace.
The rest of the album consists of Henderson’s impressive originals, including the driving blues “Homestretch,” with fiery solos from both frontmen as well as a rollicking break from Tyner and a splashy drum run from LaRoca, and the swinging “Jinrikisha,” which Henderson sings with his energetic tenor improvisations. The highlight of the collection is Henderson’s bossa-inflected “Recorda Me,” not only a contemporary jazz standard but also a piece he never tired of playing, as evidenced by the fact that he kept it in his repertoire throughout his time as a leader. Side 1 closes with the slow blues “Out of the Night,” brilliantly showcased by the rhythm team and featuring arguably Henderson’s strongest improvisational stretch.
Side One is Henderson’s “Call me Ishmael”, the auspicious beginning of the tenor saxophonist’s success story in the top tier of jazz.
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- Mastering by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio
- Pressing in 180g vinyl at Optimal