Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 60

Fretprints
sive jazz with Hendrix's electronics,
heav y rhy t hms,
hard blues edge
and psychedelic
implications would
have a name - jazzrock fusion. In the
decades that followed the form's
inception, countless highly skilled
and adventurous
players would become "chi ldren
of Miles" and follow him into the
vortex of fusion.
Prime among them
is guitarist Scott
Henderson.
Henderson was
born in Florida on
August 26, 1954,
just about the time
Davis was moving
from cool jazz to
hard bop. His early
training included
three years as a music major at Florida
Atlantic University, studying under
Dr. Bill Prince, in
addition to playing
regional clubs with
a plethora of rock
and funk bands. He
moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and
began studies at
Guitar Institute of
Technology (GIT,
now known as Musicians Institute)
with jazz guitar modernist Joe Diorio. He
graduated a year later, was immediately hired
as a teacher and became part of the institution's
jazz-rock fusion milieu. He paid his dues in
fellow instructor Jeff Berlin's Vox Humana
band, with whom he recorded Champion, and
at the recommendation of Allan Holdsworth
(in Jean-Luc Ponty's group), with whom he
toured in 1982 and later appeared on Fables.
Henderson came to prominence as a soloist
in Chick Corea's Elektric Band of the mid '80s,
and soon after joined the Joe Zawinul Syndicate; his playing was well-showcased on The
Chick Corea Elektric Band as well as Zawinul's
The Immigrants and Black Water. In 1984, he

SCOTT HENDERSON
Jazz? Rock? Yes!
By Wolf Marshall

J

azz and rock collided in the middle of the
20th century. The modern jazz movement,
represented by trumpeter Miles Davis,
who had directed the course of hard bop,
cool, orchestral and modal jazz, morphed into
malleable "post-bop" awaiting a transformation from the man with a horn. Meanwhile,
the hard rock movement, led by sonic avatar
Jimi Hendrix, had similarly evolved beyond
its blues, country, and pop beginnings and
was poised to inform the future of all music
with a new, high-decibel electric voice. It happened in 1968, when the two elements became
one. Davis' vision to merge the headiness,
complexity and experimentation of progres-

VINTAGE GUITAR

60

March 2018

formed Tribal Tech with bassist Gary Willis
and made several respected fusion albums in
the period, including Spears, Dr. Hee, Nomad,
and the masterpiece Tribal Tech, all of which
catapulted him to greater recognition and
redefined the state of jazz-rock guitar music
in terms of composition and instrumental
performance.
In 1991, he was voted Guitar World's #1 Jazz
Guitarist and accorded similar honors in the
Guitar Player Readers Poll in '92. He continued
to perform and record with the band until
their dissolution in 2000 following the release
of Rocket Science. The group reunited briefly
in 2012 to produce the Tribal Tech X album.
Scott made his solo debut with 1994's Dog
Party, which differed substantially from his
'80s muso-centered fusion, with its emphasis
on his blues-rock roots and quirky humor.
Its shuffling, SRV-inspired free-for-all "Too
Many Gittars" showcased guest pickers Steve
Trovato, Willie Scoggins, Keith Wyatt, and T.J.
Helmerich trading traditional and modern
shred sounds. Henderson followed with two
similarly blues-themed releases, Tore Down
House ('97) and Well to the Bone ('02), both of
which featured famed R&B vocalist Thelma
Houston. He next released Live! ('05), a twoCD trio concert of Tribal Tech and Henderson
tunes captured at the La Vee club in L.A. and
mixed by studio guitar virtuoso Michael
Landau. His current working band, an instrumental trio with bassist Travis Carlton and
drummer Alan Hertz, has toured more than
50 countries and in '15 released Vibe Station.
Henderson has pursued several notable
projects in his career, including HBC with
Jeff Berlin and Dennis Chambers, and VTT
with Victor Wooten and Steve Smith, which
resulted in the Vital Tech Tones album ('98),
featuring a remake of "Dr. Hee" and a surprising fusion take on John Coltrane's "Giant
Steps." An in-demand contributor, sideman,
and solo specialist, he has also participated
in various studio collaborations with Billy
Childs, Rob and Amber Whitlock, John Pisano, Tom Coster, Carl Verheyen, Dennis
Chambers, Gregg Bissonette, Steve Bailey,
and many others.

INFLUENCES
Henderson's background is as diverse as
his playing. He cites numerous influences
from jazz, blues, and rock genres including
horn players Miles Davis and John Coltrane,
and guitarists like Holdsworth, Beck, John
Scofield, Mike Stern, Pat Martino, Joe Pass,
John McLaughlin, Albert King, Ritchie
Blackmore, Albert Collins, and Jimmy Page.
As a composer he was inspired by Chick

Scott Henderson: Jessica Pettyjohn, courtesy of Suhr Guitars.

COLUMN


http://youtu.be/NZJpmk1PIzE http://www.VintageGuitar.com

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