Joe Henderson was born on April 24, 1937 in Lima, Ohio and was encouraged by his parents to study music. Growing up he studied drums, piano, saxophone and composition, and listened to Lester Young, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Flip Phillips, Lee Konitz and Jazz at the Philharmonic recordings. While in high school he wrote several scores for the school band and rock groups.
Active on the Detroit jazz scene by eighteen, Henderson was playing jam sessions with visiting New York stars in the mid-50s. He attended Wayne State University studying sax, flute and bass, Joe played with fellow classmates Yusef Lateef, Barry Harris and Donald Byrd.
A two-year Army stint saw him touring worldwide entertaining troops and while in Paris met Kenny Drew and Kenny Clarke. After discharge he moved to New York, and soon joined Horace Silver’s band, providing the seminal solo on Song For My Father. Leaving Silver he freelanced and in 1966 co-led a big band with Dorham, whose arrangements went unrecorded until 1996 on the Joe Henderson Big Band.
Henderson appeared on nearly three-dozen albums as a leader and over 50 as a sideman during his career. He would join but never record with Miles Davis, move to Milestone Records, co-lead the Jazz Communicators with Freddie Hubbard, became more politically and socially conscious with his music, played with Blood, Sweat & Tears briefly and started teaching.
He would play with Echoes Of An Era, the Griffith Park Band, Chick Corea, but remained a leader experiencing a resurgence in 1986, record for An Evening with Joe Henderson for Red Records, get signed with Verve and enjoy critical success and popularity after releasing Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn. On June 30, 2001, jazz saxophonist Joe Henderson passed away of heart failure after a long battle with emphysema.
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