Deep Dive: Joe Henderson’s Page One

Joe Henderson holds a saxophone bag for an album cover

On today’s Afternoon Cruise we’ll be doing a deep dive into Joe Henderson’s debut album as a leader, the 1963 release “Page One”. This album marks the second time that Kenny Dorham and Joe Henderson got into the studio together, though it was the first session to be released to the public. There’s a Ghostface Killah/Raekwon energy to this fertile period of the mid-1960s for the Dorham/Henderson collaboration. It seemed that no matter who was on the spine of the album they split the writing duties and the solo space about down the middle. Dorham had been on the seen significantly longer than Henderson and was thirteen years his senior. But their mutual admiration comes through from note one on Blue Bossa. They really play¬†together. This album features some stunning small combo melody delivery. The two manage a nuance and an improvisatory spirit that just isn’t available in a big band. Pete LaRoca was always one of those can’t miss names for me when shopping for Blue Note records in my youth. If the cover said LaRoca, chances are I would be picking it up the next time I had the money to do so. LaRoca sounds great with Butch Warren and it’s great to hear a slightly less ambitious version of McCoy Tyner. By the time this session was booked Tyner was not only playing in Coltrane’s Quartet, he was also signed to Impulse! as a solo artist, thus preventing Tyner from being listed on the cover of the record. But Tyner shines through with prophetic comping and impassioned solos.

Though the record would be towards the tail end of Kenny Dorham’s too-short career, it did serve to establish Henderson as a writer and saxophonist to watch. With his contract in hand with Blue Note he would go on to be at the tip of the spear of artists who commanded great facility in the bebop and hard bop world but we’re searching for new land in the world of free and spiritual jazz. This record is an important stop on that journey and we’re excited to be diving into it on Jazz88.

Thanks for checking this deep dive out and if you have music suggestions, contact me at sean@jazz88.fm


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