CULE Festivals and Guest Artist History: 1992-2000 (Dr. Karlton E. Hester, Director)


- BIOGRAPHIES: Joe Henderson
- ARTICLES: CU News March 1993

2nd Annual Cornell University "Jazz" Festival

1993 CU "Jazz" Festival Poster (spring)

April 30

- Guest Lecture: Saxophonist Joe Henderson
12:20 - 1:10PM - Barnes Hall, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.
- Concert: Special Guest Artist Joe Henderson performs with the Cornell University Jazz Ensembles.
Dr. Karlton E. Hester, director.
8:15PM - Statler Auditorium, Cornell University. Ithaca, NY.


Joe Henderson

By Karlton E. Hester
August 1, 2001

In the music business there are artists and entertainers. Entertainers strive to please their audiences at all costs while the primary motivation of most innovative artists is musical evolution and self-expression. Of all the artists I was fortunate enough to study with,  Joe Henderson was my most influential teacher. Joe Henderson was a composer, performer, teacher and stylist who always displayed the highest level of artistic integrity and imagination. Between 1979 and 1982 I always looked forward to those special phone calls from Joe letting me know he was in town and asking if I wanted to come over for a lesson.

Of course the answer was always an unhesitating "yes". Lessons with Joe were always several hours long. I knew each would be highly unique, rich in Zen-like musical content, extremely focused in presentation, and unrelenting in its attention to detail. Joeís depth of knowledge and skill supported his easy-going approach in keeping with the Global African tendency towards oral/aural transmission of knowledge and history. Henderson was a modern-day Griot.

Born in Lima, Ohio on April 27, 1939, Henderson began playing the tenor saxophone at age nine. He later studied at Kentucky State University for a year before spending four years at Wayne State in Detroit. Between studying he was heard performing locally with Yusef Lateaf, Barry Harris, Hugh Lawson, and Donald Byrd. He was drafted into the military in 1960 and met Don Byas, Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke in France during his two-year stint. In 1962 Henderson settled in New York and soon established a musical partnership with trumpeter Kenny Dorham, at the time considered one of the most respected innovators on the scene. Joe's first record date with Dorham in April of 1963 (Una Mas - Blue Note) was soon followed by his own Blue Note debut release as a leader, Page One, featuring Dorham, McCoy Tyner, Butch Warren and Pete LaRoca. This recording launched a series of recording opportunities for Henderson with Blue Note. As one of that labelís most in-demand artists, he performed on important recordings by Andrew Hill (Black Life), Lee Morgan (The Sidewinder) and Grant Green (Idle Moments). Henderson substituted for Junior Cook in the Horace Silver Quintet in April of 1963 (Una Mas) and subsequently appeared on Horace Silverís Song For My Father, also contributing his composition, "The Kicker" to that session.

Later Joe was heard on recording sessions with the Wynton Kelly Trio, featuring Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on double bass, and Jimmy Cobbs on drums. The material from this session was not released until November 1994 (on the Verve Discoveries series), it eventually helped to pave the way towards Hendersonís own Verve recording, Double Rainbow, released on March 1996. Henderson celebrates the life and mastery of the late Brazilian composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim. with that album. After 30 years in the music business, Joe Henderson was finally a Grammy Award winning tenor saxophonist recognized for his highly acclaimed series of composer songbooks, which also included Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn and So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles).

After three years with Verve Joe received Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for Lush Life and two Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo and Best Jazz Performance, Small Group for So Near, So Far. He was Billboard's #1 Jazz Artist in 1993. And CD Review's 10th Anniversary issue selected Lush Life as one of the best records in the last decade! Henderson also won the triple crown two consecutive years in a row for #1 Tenor Saxophonist, #1 Jazz Artist, and #1 Jazz Album in the Down Beat Readers and Critics Polls. The last artist to win in three categories on both polls was Duke Ellington in 1969. Both Lush Life and So Near, So Far went to #1 on the Billboard Jazz Chart and his worldwide sales total over 450,000 copies.

When Joe Henderson performed with my Cornell University Lab Ensembles in April, 1993 it was the only full standing ovation I witnessed at any sold-out campus performance in my decade-long Cornell appointment as Director of "Jazz" studies. I saw Joe work similar magic on audiences in San Francisco and New York. Like a number of other innovative masters, he said little or nothing to audiences verbally during performances. He always said everything that was necessary on stage through his beautiful music.



March 26, 1993
Contact: Carole Stone
Office: (607) 255-9737

ITHACA, N.Y. - The sound of saxophones, trumpets, trombones and drums will fill Barnes Hall on the Cornell University campus on Saturday, April 3, when jazz ensembles from six high schools and colleges gather for the Cornell Jazz Festival, sponsored by the Department of Music.

The music-making will begin at 1:30 p.m. and is expected to last until 11 p.m.

Admission is free and people are welcome to wander in and out of the concert hall during the afternoon and evening.

The bands will play a variety of jazz styles, from swing to contemporary jazz, but basically this is a festival of big band jazz - with lots of saxophones, pianos, trumpets, trombones, bass and percussion.

"We're bringing together a variety of musicians, like you might hear at other Ivy League jazz festivals - except that we did not limit ourselves only to Ivy League bands," said Karlton Hester, a composer and assistant professor of music who directs Cornell's jazz ensembles and organized the festival with student musicians.

"The atmosphere will be loose and informal. There won't be any battles of the bands. The festival is more about communing with music than competing with it," he said.

Seven ensembles will play one after another, with 10-minute breaks in between, beginning with the Liverpool, N.Y., High
School Band at 1:30 p.m., followed by the Colby College ensemble at 2:30 p.m.; Bucknell University at 3:30 p.m. and
Cornell's Eight o'clock Jazz Ensemble at 4:30 p.m.

After a dinner break between 5:30 and 8 p.m., the Ithaca College jazz ensemble will perform at 8 p.m., the University of
Pennsylvania band at 9 p.m. and Cornell's Six o'clock Ensemble at 10 p.m.

Hester plays the flute and saxophone and has been directing Cornell's jazz ensembles for the past two years. He also teaches and has taught jazz, jazz history, music theory and composition. For more information about the jazz festival, call Robert Cowie, student president of the Cornell Jazz Ensembles, at (607) 272-5577.

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Compiled: September 2001
Last Update: 08/22/2002

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