He perfected his ability to sight-read music and learned to appreciate ensemble playing. He played piano for leading Black singers on more than 150 records between 1921 and 1923 and then began a full-time career as a bandleader. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login).

In 1924, Fletcher Henderson hired a young trumpeter who reinvented his band's rhythmic concept. His brother Horace, also a bandleader and arranger, described how his parents stressed practicing.

Although the band had played major venues and been heard on the radio and in recordings, its finances were frequently in disarray, and musicians often left without notice to join other outfits. It was she who talked him into quitting the Creole Jazz Band and moving to New York to join Fletcher Henderson’s big band.

After that. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. After Redman left the band in 1927, Henderson used the same approach in his own arrangements. Don Redman’s sophisticated arrangements did appeal to Armstrong. Henderson was born into a middle-class family; his father was a school principal and his mother a teacher, and he studied piano as a child. He never worked again and died two years later, in 1952, at the age of 55. .a dancer lifted Armstrong onto his shoulders.

Unfortunately, the laid-back Henderson was never a good businessman: His band lost a number of gigs and eventually disbanded. Fletcher Henderson: 'Ken Burns Jazz: Fletcher Henderson', We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020. By the time Henderson was in high school, he was an accomplished pianist. . (Some white musicians played it, too.) In later years it was Henderson’s charts which established Benny Goodman’s Orchestra as a genuine jazz band. famous dance band of Fletcher Henderson. https://www.npr.org/2007/12/19/17370123/fletcher-henderson-architect-of-swing With his arrangements, Fletcher Henderson helped give birth to the Swing Era, and his orchestra became a touchstone for all big bands to follow.

Henderson arranged for Goodman for several years and formed a short-lived band of his own in 1936 that included Roy Eldridge, Chu Berry, John Kirby, and Sid Catlett.

Henderson went on to compose and arrange music for Benny Goodman and, with Henderson's help, Goodman's career took off; he became known as the "King of Swing." "My mother and father used to lock him up to practice when he was 6 or 7, and they'd hear noise, then there would be silence and they'd open the door and there would be Fletcher curled up on the floor asleep," Horace Henderson says. Within months he was a full-time musician, and he began working for W.C. Handy’s music publishing company as a song plugger (i.e., promoting songs to performers). Duke Ellington’s orchestra would go to Roseland to catch Armstrong’s performances and young hornmen around town tried in vain to outplay him, splitting their lips in their attempts. Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. (December 18, 1897 – December 28, 1952) was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music.

His orchestra, made up of well-established New York musicians, at first played standard dance-band fare, with occasional ragtime and jazz inflections. After his arrival in 1924, Henderson began incorporating some of that swinging rhythm into his band sound. Fletcher Henderson kept beating out the rhythm on the piano...".

Henderson had little success in his subsequent attempts to organize bands and spent most of the 1940s arranging for Goodman, Count Basie, and others.

For a year Armstrong played in Fletcher Henderson's band in New York on many recordings. One of Armstrong's biggest complaints, later in life, was that Henderson refused to let him sing. Making music better was the heart of the problem between Armstrong and Henderson. But listeners know that swing was on the scene well before that - in black music. After his early success playing second cornet in Joe "King" Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in Chicago, where Armstrong met and married pianist Lil Hardin, he moved to New York at Lil’s urging, and joined Fletcher Henderson’s big band. At twenty, he could read music. [19] Lil had her husband play classical music in church concerts to broaden his skill and improve his solo play and she prodded him into wearing more stylish attire to make him look sharp and to better offset his growing girth. He wanted to expand his role and be a featured player and singer with the band, but neither Marable nor Streckfus wanted that. (c.f. Armstrong and Oliver parted amicably in 1924. Although he found a part-time laboratory job, he immediately began getting work as a pianist. He started singing in his performances. hide caption. If they had they could have dug swing for twenty years," said Billie Holliday. His influence upon Henderson's tenor sax soloist, Coleman Hawkins, can be judged by listening to the records made by the band during this period. The band became more jazz-oriented in 1924 when Henderson hired the young trumpeter Louis Armstrong. Armstrong was allowed to play a cornet solo with just piano accompaniment on a song called “La Veda,” which apparently went over well. During this time, Armstrong also made many recordings on the side, arranged by an old friend from New Orleans, pianist Clarence Williams; these included small jazz band sides with the Williams Blue Five (some of the best pairing Armstrong with one of Armstrong's few rivals in fiery technique and ideas, Sidney Bechet) and a series of accompaniments with Blues singers, including Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Alberta Hunter.

the “pound plenty” story with Fletcher Henderson). Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Is s sousaphone a bass horn made for marching? In 1920 he moved to New York, intending to work as a … Updates?

Arrangements were constructed in the call-and-response manner (e.g., the brass section “calls,” the reed section “responds”), and many tunes were based upon “riffs,” identifiable musical passages repeated throughout the song. After playing in New York, Armstrong returned to Chicago, playing in large orchestras; there he created his most important early recordings. At about the same time, the band’s musical director and alto saxophonist, Don Redman, conceived the arrangements and instrumentation that would become the standard for big bands.

The band reached new heights of popularity and could be heard everywhere — on radio and touring coast to coast. "I think they made him play ten choruses. His was one of the most prolific black orchestras and his influence was vast. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Fletcher-Henderson, African American Registry - Biography of Fletcher Henderson, New Georgia Encyclopedia - Arts and Culture - Biography of Fletcher Henderson, All About Jazz - Biography of Fletcher Henderson, AllMusic - Biography of Fletcher Henderson, Fletcher Henderson - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Henderson was born into a middle-class family; his father was a school principal and his mother a teacher, and he studied piano as a child. Bandleader, arranger and pianist Fletcher Henderson is one of the most influential — and yet least-known — jazz masters. Throughout his riverboat experience, Armstrong's musicianship began to mature and expand. Duke Ellington’s trumpet player, Bubber Miley, was preaching the gospel of swing in the late twenties - a sermon that Ellington wrote an anthem for in 1932: “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing”. In 1924, Fletcher Henderson hired a young trumpeter who reinvented his band's rhythmic concept. Metronome/Getty Images He changed his name (James was his grandfather’s name, Fletcher Hamilton his father’s) in 1916 when he entered Atlanta University, from which he graduated as a chemistry and math major.

", Henderson's orchestra included a brilliant array of musicians, from trumpeters Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge to saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter. "The whole time I was in his band he’d only give me 16 bars to get off with, but he’d let me hit those high notes that the big primadonnas, first-chair men, couldn’t hit.”, Henderson’s strict by-the-notes style had been a challenge at first, but it began to feel like musical prison.

Although Henderson had shown an interest in music from childhood, he knew little about jazz until he was in his 20s.

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