Scott Henderson Biography

West Palm Beach, Florida, USA. Henderson began his musical career at the age of 16 by playing the guitar under the influence of his 60s guitar heroes Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page. He spent his formative years playing in local rock and funk bands in his native Florida. Initially self-taught, Henderson began his formal musical education in 1978 by attending Florida Atlantic University to study composition and big band arrangement. In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles, California to attend the Guitar Institute of Technology, under teachers such as Joe Diorio. There, Henderson began to master his jazz studies and develop a fusion guitar style that would combine his rock and funk background, the influence of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report, and the hard bop of the 60s Miles Davis Quintet. After graduation, Henderson was asked to become a member of the Guitar Institute of Technology faculty. His subsequent work with artists such as Jeff Berlin, Jean-Luc Ponty, Victor Wooten, the Joe Zawinul Syndicate and the original Chick Corea Elektric Band made Henderson one of the most in-demand fusion guitarists in the industry.

Henderson continued his transition into a jazz artist with the formation of Tribal Tech, a quartet, with fretless bass player Gary Willis. Originating as a part-time group with only occasional local gigs at Los Angeles clubs such as The Baked Potato, Tribal Tech became Henderson and Willis’ main outlet for their brand of high energy electric jazz and earned them the acclaim of jazz and rock musicians, alike. While their music bore evidence of Henderson’s rock days, the prime influence was clearly Weather Report in general and Zawinul in particular. Benefiting from a stable personnel, Kirk Covington (drums) and Scott Kinsey (keyboards), were both with the band from 1991, Tribal Tech has achieved success through hard work and merit, rather than media-hype. Their studio recordings showcase the group’s affinity for blisteringly fast solos, driving funk grooves and atmospheric synthesizer explorations. Henderson has also released two fusion albums with Vital Tech Tones, a trio collaboration with bass player Victor Wooten and drummer Steve Smith. In 1994, Henderson made his first solo release, Dog Party, as a departure from his usual fusion work. Instead, a heavy blues influence and Memphis shuffles dominated the album. His second solo release, Tore Down House, featured legendary vocalist Thelma Houston.

Performances by Henderson, who has been elected the number one jazz guitarist in the Guitar World and Guitar Player magazine’s Annual Reader’s Polls many times, reveal considerable technical skills that are usually placed at the service of spontaneity and an engaging sense of fun. His jazz education and rock roots combine to form a style of fusion guitar that does not rely on stock riffs and finger picking acrobatics. Instead, his improvisations are formed out of a schooled understanding of the theoretical side of jazz and the driving intensity of rock and roll. As a composer, Henderson, with band mate Willis, continue in the tradition of Zawinul and Wayne Shorter’s pioneering fusion work of the 70s.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

Filter Results