Luckman Jazz Orchestra Tribute to Saxophonist Joe Henderson
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The last date listed for Luckman Jazz Orchestra was Saturday April 21, 2007 / 8:00pm.
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For its season finale — and in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month — Cal State L.A.’s world-renowned Luckman Jazz Orchestra offers a program of big band music by saxophonist and composer Joe Henderson.
Guest conductor Charles Owens will conduct a selection of compositions from Henderson’s Grammy-winning 1996 Verve release, “Joe Henderson Big Band.” The CD hit a “commercial and artistic pinnacle” (Daily Variety) for Henderson, and is the only one ever recorded of his big band arrangements, some of which he wrote in 1966 for a rehearsal band. Down Beat gave it five stars out of five, for its “distinctive sound packed with a very special blend of animation and relaxation.”
Owens will also perform a new composition of his own, a heartfelt homage to the jazz legend on soprano sax.
About the Artists
Joe Henderson, born in Lima, Ohio, in 1937, studied at Kentucky State College, and then Wayne State University in the company of classmates Yusef Lateef, Barry Harris, and Donald Byrd. He helped define the Detroit jazz scene in the late 1950s, fronting his own band, and jamming with visiting stars from New York, until he joined the army in 1960. After a two-year military stint, he played with various groups, including Kenny Dorham (as co-leader), Horace Silver, Andrew Hill, the Jazz Communicators with Freddie Hubbard, the Herbie Hancock Sextet, and briefly, Blood Sweat and Tears in 1971. He made almost thirty albums for Blue Note from 1963-1968, followed by recordings for Milestone from 1967-1973, but industry recognition was elusive. In the 1990s his career enjoyed a resurgence, beginning with a Grammy award for jazz soloist on his CD “Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn” (Verve Records). More Grammys followed, and at the time of his death in 2001, Henderson was firmly established as one of the true innovators in jazz.
Charles Owens, LJO guest conductor for 2006-07, has chosen to highlight Henderson’s big band canon because it is “as good as it gets, and then some.” A highly respected soprano and tenor saxophonist, flutist and clarinetist in his own right, Owens cites Henderson as one of his major inspirations. “Joe Henderson was a world-class innovator,” he says. “He was one of the greatest sax players that ever passed through this universe, in the same league as Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Any superlative you could use still would not cover the situation.”