Joe Henderson on "Hocus-Pocus"

In years past I've always said that the next year will be the year that I post fewer transcriptions and post more critical thoughts on music, culture—that sort of thing. Having stepped down as editor of Jazz Speaks officially starting this month, I'm looking forward to having more time to reflect and write, but I thought it'd be good to air out the cobwebs to ensure a good start to the year. I've been sitting on a whole bunch of transcriptions that I've (a) started, (b) finished, or (c) forgotten about. 

To kick things off, here's Joe Henderson, age 26, on Lee Morgan's catchy theme "Hocus-Pocus," too swaggering to be even close to corny. I've had a similar thought about quintessentially hard bop takes—like the horn solis on Eddie Harris's "Love for Sale" from The In Sound (1966)—that goes something like this: it's hard to imagine many music school-aged players writing lines like this for fear of coming across as dusty, old hat, but these lines still come across as perpetually fresh on these old recordings. There's something in the attitude along the lines of, "You can't take this away from me" that I'm continually impressed by.

On another minor note, by this time, the end of the first year of studio-documented Joe Henderson, he'd already recorded two records under his own name (Page One and Our Thing), as well as with Andrew Hill on the indelible Black Fire and with Bobby Hutcherson and Grant Green. Considering all the challenging music Joe was working through this year, the casual virtuosity he demonstrates on this low-key tune is really just part of the victory lap: