In 1967 when Joe Henderson began his nearly decade-long relationship with Milestone Records, modern jazz was undergoing vibrant change. Electric keyboards and bass were gaining greater acceptance and more non-jazz sounds—rock, soul, Afro-Caribbean, Latino—were making inroads. The nine selections in this collection present a mini-retrospective of Henderson's fertile middle period, displaying how expertly he used these ever-expanding tonal and rhythmic palettes.
Henderson (1937-2001) was a major innovator of the post-bop tenor saxophone; he also composed imperishable pieces like "Recorda-Me" (piquantly revisited here as "No Me Esqueca") and "Black Narcissus." The latter receives a ravishing quartet treatment, featuring Herbie Hancock's ghostly electric piano, while an eleven-piece, Latin-grooving ensemble delivers the moody "Canyon Lady." Also of note is the dream-like "Black Is the Color (Of My True Love's Mind)," on which Henderson overdubs tenor and soprano saxes, flute, and alto flute. In any setting, Joe Henderson's sound, conception, and phrasing forever stand alone.