Eddie Henderson (musician)

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Eddie Henderson
Trumpeter Eddie Henderson, 2017.jpg
Eddie Henderson in 2017
Background information
Birth nameEdward Jackson Henderson
Born (1940-10-26) October 26, 1940 (age 78)
New York, U.S.
Years active1970–present
LabelsCapricorn, Blue Note, Capitol, SteepleChase, Milestone
Associated actsThe Cookers

Eddie Henderson (born October 26, 1940) is an American jazz trumpet and flugelhorn player. He came to prominence in the early 1970s as a member of pianist Herbie Hancock's band, going on to lead his own electric/fusion groups through the decade. Henderson earned his medical degree, and worked a parallel career as a psychiatrist and musician, turning back to acoustic jazz by the 1990s.

Henderson's influences include Booker Little, Clifford Brown, Woody Shaw, and Miles Davis.

Family influence and early music history[edit]

Henderson's mother was one of the dancers in the original Cotton Club. She had a twin sister, and they were called The Brown Twins. They would dance with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers. In the film showing Fats Waller playing "Ain't Misbehavin'", Henderson's mother sat on the piano whilst Waller sang to her. His father sang with Billy Williams and The Charioteers, a popular singing group.

At the age of nine he was given an informal lesson by Louis Armstrong, and he continued to study the instrument as a teenager in San Francisco, where he grew up, after his family moved there in 1954, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.[1] As a young man, he performed with the San Francisco Conservatory Symphony Orchestra.

Henderson was influenced by the early fusion work of jazz musician Miles Davis, who was a friend of his parents.[1] They met in 1957 when Henderson was aged seventeen, and played a gig together.

After completing his medical education, Henderson went back to the Bay area for his medical internship and residency - and the break that thrust him fully into music. It was a week-long gig with Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi band that led to a three-year job, lasting from 1970-73. In addition to the three albums recorded by the group under Hancock's name, Henderson recorded his first two albums, Realization (1972) and Inside Out (1973), with Hancock and the Mwandishi group.

After leaving Hancock, the trumpeter worked extensively with Pharoah Sanders, Mike Nock, Norman Connors, and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, returning to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1975 where he joined the Latin-jazz group Azteca, and fronted his own bands. He also recorded with Charles Earland (popular for his version of "Let the Music Play" in 1978), and later, in the 1970s, led a rock-oriented group. While he gained some recognition for his work with the Herbie Hancock Sextet (1970–1973), his own records were considered too "commercial".[2]

Medical career[edit]

After three years in the Air Force, Henderson enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a B.S. in zoology in 1964. He then studied medicine at Howard University in Washington D.C., graduating in 1968. Though he undertook his residency in psychiatry, he practiced general medicine[3] from 1975 to 1985 in San Francisco, part-time for about four hours a day working at a small clinic. Henderson said, "The head doctor knew I was into music and he hired me with the stipulation that whenever I get tours I can go and come as I please. They would even pay me when I was gone. It was lovely", he recalled. "I just wanted to play music. But I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd ever have a chance to play with the big guys."

In the 1970s, Henderson recorded a series of fusion albums during the disco era that were later re-released. He recorded two albums on the Blue Note label, Sunburst (1975) and Heritage (1976); three for Capitol Records, Comin' Thru (1977), Mahal (1978) and Runnin' to Your Love (1979); and two for Capricorn Records, Realization (1973) and Inside Out (1974).

UK success[edit]

Henderson's only UK hit was the single "Prance On" recorded for Capitol which reached No. 44 in the UK Singles Chart in November 1978.[4] The newly introduced 12" vinyl single format for this track helped promote it on the disco/club scene at the time. His previous single recorded in 1977, "Say You Will" / "The Funk Surgeon" failed to chart in the UK. "Cyclops" was an instrumental LP track only, although it was so popular at the wrong speed that Capitol pressed a 12" vinyl single with the regular version, and the fast version, back to back.[citation needed]

Recent work and influences[edit]

In the 1990s, he returned to playing acoustic hard bop, touring with Billy Harper in 1991 while also working as a physician.

In recent years Henderson has played at festivals in France and Austria. In May 2002, Henderson recorded an album of Miles Davis compositions, called So What?. The group included Bob Berg on sax, Dave Kikoski on piano, Ed Howard on bass and Victor Lewis on drums.

Henderson's fusion period has also been revisited in a live setting in the last few years, having played the UK and Europe to positive reviews, most notably his two night stint at the Jazz Café in London being cited by Blues & Soul Magazine as one of the concerts of the year. His backing band for these concerts was a UK band called Mr. Gone. The musicians in the band, at various points, included Simon Bramley on electric bass, Phil Nelson on drums, Tommy Emmerton on guitar, Neil Burditt on keyboards, Robin Jones on percussion and Jamie Harris on saxophone.

More recent recordings by Henderson have included Oasis (2001 on Sirocco Jazz Limited label), So What?, a tribute to Miles Davis (2002, EPC, Sony, Columbia), Time and Spaces (2004 Sirocco Jazz Limited), Manhattan Blue (2005, unreleased), Precious Moment (2006 on the Kind of Blue label) and For All We Know (2010 Furthermore, Recordings).

The composer of Tender You, Precious Moment, Around the World in 3/4 and Be Cool is his wife, Natsuko Henderson.

Henderson is a faculty member of Juilliard music school since 2007 and is Associate Professor of Trumpet at the Oberlin Conservatory jazz department, beginning in 2014.


As leader[edit]

  • 1973: Realization (Capricorn)
  • 1973: Inside Out (Capricorn)
  • 1975: Sunburst (Blue Note)
  • 1976: Heritage (Blue Note)
  • 1977: Comin' Through (Capitol)
  • 1978: Mahal (Capitol)
  • 1979: Runnin' to Your Love (Capitol)
  • 1989: Phantoms (SteepleChase)
  • 1994: Inspiration (Milestone)
  • 1994: Manhattan in Blue (Video Arts)
  • 1995: Tribute to Lee Morgan (NYC Music)
  • 1996: Think on Me (SteepleChase)
  • 1996: Flight of Mind (SteepleChase)
  • 1997: Dark Shadows
  • 1998: Dreams of Gershwin
  • 1999: Reemergence
  • 2001: Oasis
  • 2002: So What (Columbia)
  • 2004: Time and Spaces
  • 2006: Precious Moment (Kind of Blue Records)
  • 2007: Association
  • 2010: For All We Know (Furthermore)
  • 2011: Eddie Henderson & Friends Play the Music of Amit Golan (Minton's Records)
  • 2015: Collective Portrait (Smoke Sessions)
  • 2018: Be Cool


  • Anthology (Soul Brother, 2000) compiles tracks from Sunburst, Heritage, Comin' Through and Mahal
  • Anthology Volume 2: The Capricorn Years (Soul Brother, 2005) compiles Realization and Inside Out

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b R. J. DeLuke "Eddie Henderson: Healing with Music" at all about jazz
  2. ^ Scott Yanow at allmusic.com
  3. ^ Eddie Henderson page at Sharp Nine Records.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 250. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]