Fletcher Henderson Influence On Jazz Music

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Jazz Hands!: How Jazz Greats Sculpted The Music of Their Time Music has always been a guiding force for the world. Since the beginning, it has been used for in place of words for communication and for creative expression. During the Jazz Era of the early 1900’s, this was no different. Despite the looming Great Depression and the hardships the country faced, people continually turned to jazz music to get away from it all. The sometimes-wild, sometimes-soulful genre captivated audiences around the world and entertained many during times of strife. There were many famous musicians that were discovered and made popular during this time, such as Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong, and Dizzy Gillespie. These musicians shaped the jazz music genre …show more content…
This man was Fletcher Henderson (Fletcher Henderson). Fletcher would grow up to be one of the most influential black musicians in history. Henderson’s family was quite well-off for a black family at a time when segregation was at it’s height; Henderson went to an all-black prep school in Atlanta, where he excelled in academics. His start in music began early, as both of his parents played the piano; however, his parents did not condone early jazz. Henderson grew up surrounded by the classical music his parents played; this led him to like to playing music as well, although his playing was mediocre at best. He attended college at Atlanta University, where he majored in chemistry. Henderson dreamed of studying at Columbia University in New York, so, in an attempt to make that dream into a reality, he moved there in 1920. However, despite his efforts at his previous collegeㅡhe was a talented studentㅡthe college was still highly segregated and he ended up working as an assistant in a chemistry lab. While in New York, Henderson roomed with a pianist; he had to stand in for his roommate at a riverboat job at one point. After the riverboat job, he was hired for further playing; not long after, he was hired by the Pace & Handy music firm as a song promoter. This caused him to be hired by the prestigious Black Swan record label for composing music, and not long afterwards, Henderson was chosen to back Ethel Waters. It was on this tour that Henderson’s musical repertoire switched from classical music to jazz and swing. Henderson’s career took off, and eventually, in 1923, he formed his own band, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. His band started off as eight, but within a year, it had grown to sixteen members, one of which was Louis Armstrong, a jazz-trumpeting pioneer (Fletcher Henderson). Henderson helped develop Armstrong's talents, as well as the