Power to the People

The following is from Peter Howarth’s class presentation:

Background on Joe Henderson (1937-2001)

  • From Lima, Ohio
  • Encouraged by his parents and brother to study music
  • Early musical interests included drums, piano, saxophone and composition
  • Spent two years in US Army (1960-62)
  • Upon discharge, moved to New York
  • Most known for records with Blue Note from 1963-68
  • Also appeared on other significant records for record label
  • Horace Silver’s Song for My Father
  • Herbie Hancock’s The Prisoner

The Album:  Joe Henderson – “Power to the People” (1969)

  • Joe Henderson: tenor sax
  • Mike Lawrence:  trumpet
  • Herbie Hancock: piano, electric piano
  • Ron Carter: bass, electric bass
  • Jack DeJohnette: drums
Track List:
  1. Black Narcissus
  2. Afro-Centric
  3. Opus One-Point-Five
  4. Isotope
  5. Power to the People
  6. Lazy Afternoon
  7. Foresight and Afterthought (An Impromptu Suite in Three Movements

Black Narcissus

(2:05 – 2:42)

  • shift in tonal centers, from Amin7 to Cmin7
  • use of the Dorian Mode
  • smoother, more reserved
  • title of a future album


(5:15 – 5:55)

  • Hancock’s solo highlights the track
  • prominent usage of trumpet

Opus One-Point-Five

(3:30 – 3:51)

  • completely acoustic
  • lots of tonal shifts


(2:39 – 3:18)

  • straight bop, shows influence from Sonny Rollins
  • included in widely-acclaimed The State of the Tenor

Power to the People

(0:46 – 1:23)

  • similar in style to “Afro-Centric”
  • more urgent-sounding
  • a cry for change

Lazy Afternoon

(0:59 – 1:36)

  • a standard, the only featured on the album
  • lots of interplay between Hancock and Henderson

Foresight and Afterthought (An Impromptu Suite in Three Movements)

(2:34 – 3:20)

  • as indicated by the title, completely improvised
  • foreshadowed Henderson’s following work, being pianoless
  • future work was without chordal instruments
  • irrevency due to improvisation
  • lots of emotion

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think Henderson may not be as well known as his contemporaries such as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis
  2. How does the diversity in styles represented in this album display the message behind this album?
  3. What’s your favorite track and why?


PowerPoint Presentation:

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