Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, 18 December 1897, Cuthbert, Georgia, USA, d. 28 December 1952, New York City, New York, USA. One of the most important figures in the development of big band music, in the early 30s Henderson set the standards by which early big band jazz was measured. He did this through a combination of selecting leading jazz players for his band and, together with Don Redman, creating a format for big band arrangements that was taken up by all but a handful of arrangers in the next 30 years. Yet, curiously enough, Henderson became a band leader almost by accident, and an arranger through force of circumstance, rather than by deliberate intent.
After gaining a degree in chemistry at Atlanta State University, he travelled to New York in 1920 to continue his studies. As a means of supporting himself he drifted into working as a song-plugger for the Pace-Handy Music Company. Then he became manager of Harry Paces Black Swan...
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