Joe Henderson

The Best of the Blue Note Years

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The Best of the Blue Note Years Review

by Stephen Cook

Joe Henderson's handful of Blue Note albums from the first half of the '60s rank with the decade's best hard bop recordings. Benefiting from stellar backing units, Henderson ably displayed his tartly sinuous tenor conception on a strong array of originals and cherry-picked covers. This best-of collection is made up of tracks from all of the saxophonist's early Blue Note LPs, including his signature tune, the beguiling bossa nova "Recorda Me"; the coolly complex "Serenity"; and a choice take on Cedar Walton's tribute to Henderson, "Mode for Joe." The disc is topped off with first-class versions of Sam Rivers' "Beatrice" and Monk's "Ask Me Now," both taken from Henderson's widely acclaimed State of the Tenor Live at the Village Vanguard sessions of the mid-'80s. For newcomers shy about diving into Henderson's Blue Note Years box set, this sampler will be a perfect way to test the waters.

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