Make "Our Thing" Your Thing
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 10/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Originally released on CD in 1989, Joe Henderson's "Our Thing" was one of the scandalous casualties of Capitol/EMI's deletion axe in the early 90s. While it briefly resurfaced a few years back in the Blue Note Collector's Choice reprint program, the majority of the jazz buying public has had a limited chance, if any, to purchase this great album. Luckily that all changes with "Our Thing's" permanent return to the catalog as part of the RVG series. This remarkable session from September 1963 features Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Andrew Hill on piano, Eddie Kahn on bass, Pete La Roca on drums, and of course Henderon on tenor sax. Kenny and Joe had teamed up before on "Page One," and would again on Dorham's "Una Mas." While this collaboration might seem like an odd one, the results are nothing short of magical. Of equal importance to this recording is the very modern, free-flowing rhythm trio of Hill, Kahn and La Roca, who support and join the frontline in an exploratory foray, more akin to Hill's "Black Fire" (on which Henderson played tenor) than on Henderson's previous album as a leader, "Page One." The disc's compositions are all originals, split between Henderson ("Teeter Totter" and "Our Thing") and Dorham ("Pedro's Time," "Back Road" and "Escapade"). The CD also features an alternate take of "Teeter Totter" that was not on the original vinyl. Without question "Our Thing" is a classic -- you should make it your thing too."
A minor classic
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 03/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This isn't one of the most celebrated Blue Notes--not even one of Joe Henderson's most celebrated albums--but it's nonetheless a great date. It's got one of the most interesting batches of compositions of any Henderson disc--two cookers by Joe (the title track & "Teeter Totter") & three gentler pieces by Kenny Dorham, the other horn on the date. All the tunes have strange, awkward structures & chord changes that don't lead where you expect. -- However good the front line is, what makes this disc is the exceptional rhythm-section work. Pete La Roca's endlessly springy, tuneful drumming is a highlight; Andrew Hill, as usual, sounds very different from the dourer pianist of his recordings as a leader: he sounds looser, funkier, though still as intelligent & slippery a soloist as ever, with those weird sliding runs across the keyboard. The combo of La Roca & Hill gives this disc a sunnier, more upbeat feel than those contemporary Henderson discs that draw on the fury of the Coltrane quartet via the inclusion of Tyner &/or Jones in the rhythm section.This is a really welcome reissue in the RVG series, especially with the addition of an alternate take of "Teeter Totter", worth having for (among other things) Kenny Dorham's cheeky mimicry of Dizzy Gillespie at one point."