Re-release date: March 27th 2007
Original release date: May 23rd 1969
"Power To The People", released for the first time on CD (now in re-mastered form) is yet another example of how the finest achievements of Joe Henderson's early career went un-noticed and he was undervalued. It is just as well from the 80's on that he finally received the recognition he had so clearly merited or this groundbreaking album may only have seen the light of day as part of an inaccessible box set.
This is yet another great album highlighting Joe Henderson as an important jazz composer and great jazz saxophonist. Having said that, it represents a distinct break from "In 'N Out" or "Inner Urge" by taking up the challenge laid down by Miles Davis to make a music that was recognizably jazz but could stand alongside the breakthroughs signposted by Jimi Hendrix. Fronting a superb line up recruited direct from Miles' groundbreaking experiments with "In A Silent Way"- Herbie Hancock (piano and Fender Rhodes, Ron Carter (bass and electric bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums)- and adding trumpeter Mike Lawrence on two of the tracks ("Power To The People" and "Afro-Centric"), this is a fine journey from the easily accessible ("Black Narcissus, "Afro-Centric", "Opus One-Point-Five") into the reaches of atonality ("Isotope", "Power To The People") and back out again into a more reassuring tonality ("Lazy Afternoon"). "Foresight and Afterthought", becoming again free and touching atonality, acts as an interesting final question mark on the future. Though it is a much overworked claim, the seven pieces could easily be regarded as movements of a jazz concerto.
Before jazz fusion was to degrade into the clumsiness and lack of subtlety of "Headhunters" and "The Mahavishnu Orchestra" advances like "Power To The People" as much as "In A Silent Way" signposted vital new directions forward for jazz which only now in the hands of today's innovators such as Dave Douglas are again coming to fruition.
One of the best jazz albums to re-emerge in recent years.
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To preview and purchase "Power To The People" on CD at Amazon:
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