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Sat, 04.24.1937

Joe Henderson represented jazz with style

Joe Henderson

On this date in 1937, Joe Henderson was born.  He was an African American jazz saxophonist.

From Lima, Ohio, Henderson's musical career started when he was a student at Kentucky State College and Wayne University in Detroit. After a two-year military stint from 1960 to 1962, he worked with Jack McDuff and Kenny Dorham before signing with Blue Note in 1963. There, he joined Horace Silver's quintet in 1964 for two years. Henderson's output for the label included Page One, Our Thing, and Mode For Joe, and yielded his classic compositions Recorda Me and Inner Urge.

He was a sideman for many of the brightest artists of the era including Herbie Hancock and Andrew Hill. He briefly played with Miles Davis and with Blood, Sweat and Tears.  He made recordings for the Milestone label in the '70s, when he relocated to San Francisco. His profile exploded in the '90s, thanks to several critically acclaimed recordings for Verve: Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn, So Near, So Far (Musings For Miles), and the Antonio Carlos Jobim tribute, Double Rainbow.  Henderson created a unique style that set him apart from the dominant influences of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins in the '60s and, by the '90s, he became a towering presence in his own right.

A sensitive and probing improviser, Henderson's artistry helped define today's modern jazz era. Saxophonist Joe Henderson, who in the early '90s experienced a career renaissance (including a "Triple Crown" win in the Down Beat Critics poll for Artist, Album and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year) after signing to Verve Records, died of heart failure Saturday, June 30, 2001 in San Francisco. He had had a long battle with emphysema and had not played publicly for more than one-and-a-half years. He was 64.

Reference:
A Century of Jazz by Roy Carr
Da Capo Press, New York
Copyright 1997
ISBN 0-306-80778-5

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