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Eddie Henderson

Jazz trumpeter extraordinaire Eddie Henderson had his first informal lesson on the trumpet at the age of 9 from Louis Armstrong. As a teenager he studied trumpet at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and performed with the San Francisco Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. In 1957, Eddie met Miles Davis for the first time. Davis, a family friend, admired the strikingly beautiful tone and musicality of Henderson’s trumpet playing and encouraged him to pursue a career in music. As a family friend, Miles Davis has been a major musical influence on Eddie throughout his life. That culminated in May of 2002 with the recording of So What, a tribute to Davis that features songs associated with the legend. As Henderson puts it, “Miles is so very special to me because when I was in high school he stayed in my parents’ house when he came through San Francisco. I was going to the conservatory then studying classical music. I saw him do all these songs live that I recorded on the tribute album.” Eddie had the good fortune of meeting many famous musicians growing up – including getting early tips from Satchmo – because his parents were both entertainers. His mother was a dancer at the original Cotton Club and his father a member of the popular singing group Billy Williams and the Charioteers. His stepfather was a doctor to people like Miles and Coltrane and Duke Ellington, so the association with musicians continued. Eddie studied hard in school and in addition to excelling on his instrument, he excelled academically enough to go to medical school and become a doctor. Dr. Henderson practiced as a physician part-time for many years, in addition to playing gigs and learning directly from two of his other main trumpet influences – Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. In addition to his stint with Herbie Hancock, Henderson has performed with such notables as Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Roy Haynes, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, Johnny Griffin, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, Max Roach and McCoy Tyner. In addition to his European Tours, Eddie performs in the Mingus Big Band and tours with the Eddie Henderson Quartet.

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