Fletcher Henderson Research Paper
James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. (December 18, 1897 – December 29, 1952) was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of band jazz and swing music. He was one of the most prolific black musical arrangers and his influence was vast. He was often known as Smack Henderson (apparently due to his college baseball hitting skills) .Fletcher is ranked along with Duke Elington as one of the most influential arrangers and band leaders in jazz history, and helped bridge the gap between the dixieland and swing era.
Fletcher Henderson was born in Cuthbert, Georgia in 1897. He grew up in a middle-class African-American family. His father, Fletcher H. Henderson Sr. (1857–1943), was the …show more content…
His roommate, who worked as a musician, became increasingly ill and was unable to perform. Seizing the opportunity he found himself covering for him in the Riverboat Orchestra, and they soon gave Henderson a job as a full time replacement, helping him land a job with the fledgling Black Swan label in 1921–1923. Throughout the early and mid-1920s, Henderson provided solo piano accompaniment for many blues singers. He also led the backing group for Ethel Waters during one of her national tours. Prior to mid-1923, Henderson's group was not technically a jazz band yet (more like a dance band), though its music was inflected with the ragtime rhythms that had been popular for some time. In 1922 he formed his own band, which was resident first at Club Alabam, then at the Roseland Ballroom, and quickly became known as the best African-American band in New York. In the 1920s, he did not do very many band arrangements. By late 1923 and into 1924, the arrangements by Don Redman were featuring more solo work, but when Louis Armstrong joined his orchestra in 1924 (for only a year), Henderson realized there could be a much richer potential for jazz band orchestration. Even though Armstong only played in the band for a year, he greatly influenced the memebers of the band as they began to imminate his style. Henderson's band also boasted the formidable arranging talents of Don Redman (from 1922 to 1927).