For Once in My Life — An Appreciation of Michael Henderson

I think I own everything that Stevie Wonder has recorded and released, going back to the early 1960s.  On a recent plane ride to Omaha with my iPhone in shuffle mode I stumbled across a live recording of “For Once In My Life” that Stevie made at a London nightclub in 1970.

The first thing I noticed was that the tempo was brighter than on the studio recording.  The second thing I observed was the absolutely killer bass line that I was ready to attribute to James Jamerson.

It turns out the line was not by Jamerson but by Michael Henderson, a then 18-year old phenomenon who who soon catch the eye of Miles Davis.  Here’s a snippet from the live show.

I’m not the only one that’s been taken by how good this line is.  There are at least two YouTube videos that pay homage to Henderson’s bass playing, including this one.


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3 thoughts on “For Once in My Life — An Appreciation of Michael Henderson

  1. Guth John September 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm Reply

    Indeed, I saw Henderson live with Miles around 1970 at Shelly’s Manne Hole in Hollywood.
    It was unbelievable. Miles, Gary Bartz, Airto, DeJohnette, Henderson, Keith Jarrett. I spent all my money and went 3 nights!

  2. Thom Hickey September 2, 2014 at 5:53 am Reply

    Thanks. Good to see a quiet hero celebrated! Regards Thom.

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