Today’s special is a ‘twofer’. First because, in 1966, Blue Note records recorded a Joe Henderson classic-‘Mode for Joe’. The album was the fifth studio recording for the artist, but unfortunately the last Blue Note studio album featuring Henderson as a leader. This hard-bop record is pure straight-ahead jazz, but it’s also been described as a great example of modern jazz at its best. Henderson attended Wayne State University, as well as Kentucky State College. While in school his classmates included Yusef Lateef and Donald Byrd. No doubt, they provided inspiration for him. The album features Joe on tenor, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Cedar Walton on piano, Joe Chambers on drums, Ron Carter on bass, as well as Bobby Hutchinson on vibes. The album’s also special because for Bobby Hutchinson it’s his birthday. The vibraphonist/mirimba player took his inspiration from Milt Jackson and went on to make a name for himself. He’s won a number of musical titles including the “World’s Best Vibist” in the International Jazz Critics Poll, as well as the “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition” award in a DownBeat poll. He also played a minor role in the jazz movie ‘Round Midnight.’
If you’ve been reading ii-V-I: A JassOdyssey, you’ll know that Miles questions why he has to go to college. But if he had room mates like Joe Henderson, Donald Byrd or Yusef Lateef, he would realize that not all the education you get in school comes out of a book.
Because these two jazz giants are featured on this recording, we will make ‘Mode For Joe’, the “Jazz Album of the Day.”