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Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra
Fletcher Henderson and
The Birth of Swing
This record was made by the "Fletcher Henderson Orchestra" on May 14th 1926 in New York City with Fletcher Henderson piano, Joe and Russell Smith trumpet, Benny Morton trombone, Buster Bailey and Don Redman clarinet and alto sax, Coleman Hawkins clarinet and tenor sax, Ralph Escudero bass brass, Charlie Dixon banjo, and Kaiser Marshall drums.
Fletcher Henderson was born in Cuthbert, Georgia on December 18th 1897. He attended Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated in 1920. After graduation, he moved to New York City to attend Columbia University for a master's degree in chemistry. However, he found his job prospects in chemistry to be very restricted due to his race, and turned to music for a living.
Henderson, along with Don Redman, established the formula for swing music. The two men broke the band up into sections (sax section, trumpet section etc.) designed to work together to create a unique sound. Sometimes these "sections" would play in a call-and-response style, while at other times one would play supporting rifts behind the other.
The famous bandleader was also responsible for bringing Louis Armstrong from Chicago to New York in October 1924, thus flipping the focal point of jazz in the history of the United States (although Armstrong left the band in November 1925 and returned to Chicago). He played a key role in bringing improvisatory jazz styles from New Orleans and other areas of the country to New York, where they merged with a dance-band tradition that relied heavily on arrangements written out in musical notation.
A museum has been established in his memory in his hometown of Cuthbert, Georgia.
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