Joe Henderson was born on April 24, 1937, in Lima, Ohio. Tenor saxophonist Henderson studied in Detroit and after army service, he moved to New York in 1962. He first made his mark with Blue Note Records recording with Kenny Dorham and Lee Morgan, Lee ( The Sidewinder ) and Andrew Hill, ( Black Fire , Point Of Departure ), as well as leading several sessions of his own. He later worked with Horace Silver (Song For My Father ) and towards the end of the 60s, co-led the Jazz Communicators with Freddie Hubbard before joining the Herbie Hancock sextet. In 1970 he briefly played with Blood, Sweat & Tears.
In the early 70s he led his own groups, recording a series of albums for Milestone, then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he became involved in teaching. In the 80s he led an otherwise all-woman quartet (which included drummer Cindy Blackman and recorded for the Italian Red label. He made the acclaimed two-volume The State Of The Tenor, a trio set (with Ron Carter and Al Foster recorded live in 1985 at the Village Vanguard for Blue Note, whose co-founder Alfred Lion declared it "one of the best ever made" for the label.
Joe Henderson experienced a critical boom in the 90s, gaining excellent reviews for his albums of Billy Strayhorn, (Lush Life) and Miles Davis (So Near, So Far) compositions. Joe Henderson, who had been making exceptionally fine music for a number of years became a a four-time Grammy winner in the 90s. When music critics raved about the awards, Joe took the comments in stride, and continued to utilize his creative energy to creative magnificent, masterful music.
An acknowledged master of modern tenor craft, Henderson's chief influences were John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, but he fashioned a personal style that blended a finespun melodicism with logic, ingenuity and a dab of terse abstraction. For 1996's Joe Henderson Big Band, Henderson collaborated with a stellar range of players including Foster, Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, Joe Faddis, Jon Byron Stripling, Tony Kadlek, Ray Vega, Mike Mossman, Dick Oatts, Steve Wilson, Tim Ries, Charlie Pillow, Gary Smulyan, Conrad Herwig, Larry Farrell, Keith O'Quinn and Dave Taylor.
Joe Henderson was electrifying on stage. He was a towering, majestic giant who could play fiery soul stirring sounds and gentle, sensitive, introspective soul searching jewels. Joe was a rare, one-of-a kind creative spirit, a jazz icon, an inspiration who gave so much excellent music and left a truly marvelously stellar creative legacy.