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Little Johnny C (1963)

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Joe Henderson

Although this Blue Note session (reissued on CD in 1996) is led by trumpeter Johnny Coles, pianist Duke Pearson (who contributed the arrangements and five of the six compositions) really functioned as leader. The typically impressive Blue Note lineup (which includes Leo Wright on alto and flute, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and either Walter Perkins or Pete LaRoca on drums, in addition to Coles and Pearson) handles the obscure material with creative invention. Most memorable are the catchy title cut and the somber ballad "So Sweet My Little Girl." Cole's brittle trumpet is the lead voice throughout, although the young Joe Henderson was already instantly recognizable. ~ Scott Yanow