Joe Henderson - In 'N Out (Vinyl)

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Recorded in April 1964, In ‘n Out falls square in the middle of the formidable run of five classic Blue Note albums that launched tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson’s legendary career. The lineup featured the transcendent frontline of Henderson and trumpeter Kenny Dorham along with a powerful rhythm section with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones. The music charted expansive postbop territory on three Henderson’s originals (“In ‘n Out” “Punjab” “Serenity”) and two by Dorham (“Short Story” “Brown’s Town”). The brilliant album cover design by Reid Miles is a quintessential example of the bold typography that made his style so influential. This Blue Note 80 Vinyl Edition is analogue mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on 180g vinyl at Optimal.


Joe Henderson is supported by the at the time Coltrane rhythm section of Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner, plus bassist Richard Davis and trumpet player Kenny Dorham. It was KD who had introduced the sax player to Blue Note’s producer Alfred Lion thus giving him his 1st recording opportunities and at the time of this April 1965 session they had already participated in each other albums or worked with others in half a dozen titles. If this denounces a personal empathy, listening to this album convinced me their chemistry extended well beyond that, not only to a tonal level, as their timbres blend with an uncommon aural grace, but also to a shared enthusiasm for exploring all the corners and intricacies in the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic fabric of the music, leading it to unexpected apexes of intensity. Not that the material seems particularly harmonically complex but the constant rhythmic challenges provoked by a drummer such as Jones, which in Tyner are coupled with his trademark modal harmonic modulations, origin a meander of changing moods and a relatively boundaries-free music that allows a freedom, none of the 3 soloists hesitates to profit from.

The album opens at a stunning pace with Henderson penned title track, and if there are strong Coltrane reminiscences, inevitable not only from Tyner and Jones but also from the adventurous way JH explores his horn, the head has an flagrant Parker vibe; Tyner delivers one of his mind blowing two-handed solos and this is a good opportunity to experience Davis compulsive and propulsive bass playing and acknowledge it as a major ingredient in the thickening of the diverse grooves all over this album.
Tracks 2 & 3 also come from the sax player’s pen (or mouth piece) and contribute with some of the album more decisive moments, “Punjab” with an unusual structure, where I get gladly lost trying to figure out what comes next, as there are always two extra bars beyond the expected breaking points, which are used as a platform to create seemingly unresolved tensions, on the improvised sections of an arrestingly “misterioso” theme, and brilliant broken & descending harmonic sequence, and “Serenity” which is only serene in the velvety quality of the horns as they travel through a Davis pulsating walking line constantly disturbed by off beat accents that never diminish its drive – RD has a fine couple of chorus long solo as the piano gently sweeps the background.
Dorham is responsible for the last two tracks; “Short Story” with a powerful Latin influenced Funky head, before the “Quiet Kenny” launches in an extraordinaire display of the attributes which explain why he once made Miles ashamed in front of his own public, before Henderson fluidly explores with determination his entire horn gamut, and “Brown’s Town”, swinging and jolting, where KD trumpet’s ability to lyrically sing and invent melodies while improvising comes out with flashes of Mediterranean colors and the Tyner lead rhythm trio fiercely deconstructs the groove just to reshape it anew , while JH is curiously laid to rest, contributing solely for the harmonized theme.

An alternate version of the title track is added in the2004 RVG edition series, in another memorable opportunity to listen to Henderson’s gigantic grasp of the tenor sax , but the less intense and passionate interpretation from everybody, understandably determined it should be omitted in favour of the original LP chosen version.

By: Comusduke

A1 In 'N Out
A2 Punjab
B1 Serenity
B2 Short Story
B3 Brown's Town

Bass – Richard Davis (2)
Design [Cover] – Reid Miles
Drums – Elvin Jones
Lacquer Cut By – KPG*
Liner Notes – Don Heckman
Mastered By – Kevin Gray
Photography By [Cover Photo] – Francis Wolff
Piano – McCoy Tyner
Producer – Alfred Lion
Recorded By [Recording By] – Rudy Van Gelder
Tenor Saxophone – Joe Henderson
Trumpet – Kenny Dorham