Clearly one of the most unsung heros of jazz music, educator and trumpeter Dr. Eddie Henderson is still on demand as a leader and sideman. For the last couple of years Dr. Henderson has been part of the bebop supergroup “The Cookers” featuring George Cables on piano, Billy Harper on Sax, Billy Hart on drums, and Cecil McBee on bass.
But the Doc is best known for being the in breakout unit headed by pianist Herbie Hancock and his group the Mwandishi Band that featured Buster Williams, Billy Hart, Bennie Maupin, and Julian Priester. The band was together for three years and it catapulted Eddie into becoming a successful sideman. When the band disbanded he’d become a bona-fide solo star recording some of his most important records on Blue Note which include “Sunburst” and “Heritage.” His other recordings “Realization” and “Inside Out” are still cult classics overseas and are played by disc jockeys to dance fans to this day.
The New York City native was raised around the music as a child. Dr. Henderson’s mother was a dancer at the famed Cotton Club in Harlem and dad was a vocalist in the popular vocal group The Charioteers. But it was his meeting Louis Armstrong that he decided to study the trumpet. Throughout his time growing up in San Francisco that he took to his formal studying of classical music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music that his passion music and studies academically served as a form of discipline that propelled Eddie through adulthood.
His step-father was a prominent doctor in the Bay area and was good friends with the late Miles Davis. Davis took him to one of his performances at the famed Blackhawk Jazz Club and that was the nucleus for Eddie wanting to become a musician.
All through college Eddie would play music but it was when he decided to study medicine at Howard University in Washington D.C. that he used to travel on weekends to his hometown of New York City to study with trumpeters Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. It was those two musical icons that took him under their wing to teach him about technique as well as become lifelong mentors up until their untimely deaths.
Dr. Henderson would go on to record and perform with the likes of Art Blakey, Charles Earland, Pharoah Sanders, and Norman Connors.
Eddie is about to go on tour and will be coming to club near you. For more information on Dr. Henderson’s club dates, please visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/eddie-henderson