Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
State of the Tenor
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, overshadowed by the generation of saxophone giants who preceded him, carved out his own reputation through technical excellence, songwriting ability, and a stunning diversity that made him ... more »
Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, overshadowed by the generation of saxophone giants who preceded him, carved out his own reputation through technical excellence, songwriting ability, and a stunning diversity that made him a sought-after sideman early in his career. He made his mark at Blue Note records as a member of the Kenny Dorham band and went on to record with the Horace Silver group that made the classic Song for My Father. He played on such varied albums as Lee Morgan's The Sidewinder, Andrew Hill's Point of Departure, and Larry Young's Unity. State of the Tenor, originally issued as two albums and collected together on this set, was recorded during a three-day period at the Village Vanguard in New York in 1985 with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster. The reissue includes previously unreleased material. --John Swenson
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Exceptional solo and ensemble playing
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Henderson is probably not the first tenor sax player's name to pop to most people's lips when asked, but as this double album shows, more's the pity. What you get here is a pure, concentrated example of first-class sax playing with two marvellously empathetic accompanists. Except to put it that way makes it sound as if Ron Carter on bass and Al Carter on drums are there just to back him up. Although the tenor sax is undoubtedly the lead instrument the more you listen to this session the more you appreciate the sharing of musical ideas between the three musicians. The music is what counts to them. At times, where the music requires it, the drums just back right out leaving only the tenor and bass weaving sinuous threads around each other. It might sound crazy to say this is the drummer 'contributing' to the music, but so often you hear small groups where the bass / percussion / rhythm section seems hell-bent on playing on regardless of whether it makes musical sense. I don't know how long these three had played together prior to this recording but they certainly sound as if they know exactly what's going on inside each other's heads. Don't worry if you don't recognise many of the titles of the tracks. The inventiveness and imagination displayed is incredible, and I suspect that even on those tracks where you think you know the melody, the development will take you off in directions you never thought of before. At times the bass will play just a simple insistent 2 or 3 note riff and let the others improvise around it for minutes at a time; at others times all three artists are contributing strongly to the sound. This latter aspect is one of which I am particularly fond : beacuse it is such a small group you can still visualise all three musicians and appreciate the totality of the music they are making. The recording of this live session is first class and the atmosphere sounds as though it was quite intense. You can almost imagine the audience perched on the edge of their seats watching and wondering they way people do when seeing someone doing high-wire walking. Half of you wants them to succeed magnificently, half of you gorishly wants to see them fall. Well, there are certainly some wobbles here (hey, the guys are human!) but the recoveries are just as breathtaking as you want. And, yes, they do all make to the other end in one piece. I first heard a track from this ('Loose Change' on CD 1) on BBC Radio 3's (normally the straight-laced classical station) 'Jazz Record Requests' programme and went straight out the next day and purchased it. It's that good. Since then it has quickly hoisted itself in to one of my all-time favourite jazz CDs. Go on, do yourself a favour, you won't regret it."
Three Jazz Masters at Their Best
Michael Turner | 07/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This record has the whole package: masterful musicians in top form, original song selections and arrangements, scintillating interplay, and good sound quality. As with all late Joe Henderson, the playing overall gives the impression of sophistication and calm. But amidst all of this, there is a fiery, questioning, anguished, boundary-pushing musical connection and expression. Ron Carter is masterful, weaving moments of tension, lyricism, delicacy and dissonance into his baselines and solos. Al Foster is varyingly subtle, loud, obnoxious and seamless when the moments call for it. Joe Henderson overall summons the image of an old wise man, with much to say, but tastfully giving his students only choice anecdotes so as not to overwhelm them. (This seems to be the difference between early and late Joe, there is always inherent knowledge, but over the years he gained wisdom. He expressed his knowledge broodingly and loudly in the 60s; more recently he expressed it hushly and wisely.) He plays masterfully, always accessible but at the same time questioning and unexpected. This recording never loses its freshness and intelligence over repeated listenings. It is continuingly rewarding and a good buy."
This is how it's done.
Douglas T Martin | Alpharetta, GA USA | 06/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Short and simple: if you play tenor sax this CD belongs in your collection. Joe Henderson runs through a variety of styles, both traditional and non, showing what the tenor is capable of doing in the hands of someone well-versed in all styles of jazz. With backing by Ron Carter and Al Foster, the trio lets the lines of each composition stand out like strands on a spiderweb. Again, if you are serious about jazz this is something you need to check out."