Joe Henderson was one of the few jazz musicians able to navigate the tightrope from the mainstream jazz of the 1950s and 60s to the Avant Garde of the 70s – right back to the Neo Bop school of the 80s and 90s. That he did it with such skill and flair is to his credit, and is well worth studying!
Henderson was born in Lima OH, USA – one of fifteen children! After a two year spell in the army (1960-62) he moved to New York City. Soon after he made his recording debut with Kenny Dorham on Blue Note. From 64-66 he was a member of Horace Silver’s quintet, following this he went freelance and made nearly thirty recordings for the Blue Note label. In 1967 he briefly joined Miles Davis’ second great quintet, (alongside Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter.)
In 1971 Joe Henderson moved to San Fransico where he continued to tour and also take on students, (listen to Greg Fishman’s reflections on his time as a student of Joe here.) In the 90s Henderson made a number of recordings for the Verve label which were critically acclaimed, giving Joe Henderson the acclaim he so richly deserved. He died in 2001.