Two Sides of Joe Henderson

Joe Henderson was the first saxophone player whom I ever called my favorite. As a younger man getting publicly into jazz, it seemed that the known heavies among the people I spoke with were more than I could get my ears around. There were tenor players I favored, Dexter Gordon chief among them, but I found myself wanting something that leaned into more aggressive improvisations, turned occasionally away from standards, maybe carried a message of personal – if not cultural, political or social – freedom. Sonny Rollins was almost perfect but older guys, like in their 40s, seemed to enjoy him a little too much.

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