Michael Henderson

Michael Henderson (born 7 July 1951)[1] is an American bass guitarist and vocalist best known for his bass playing with Miles Davis in the early 1970s and on early fusion albums such as Jack Johnson, Live-Evil, and Agharta, along with a series of his own R&B/soul hits and others featuring him on vocals, particularly the Norman Connors produced hit, "You Are My Starship"[2] in 1976 and other songs in the mid- to late-1970s.

Michael Henderson
Henderson singing at Sunset Junction Festival in Los Angeles, California
Henderson singing at Sunset Junction Festival in Los Angeles, California
Background information
Born (1951-07-07) 7 July 1951 (age 69)
Yazoo City, Mississippi, United States
GenresR&B, jazz, funk, soul, pop
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer, arranger
InstrumentsVocals, bass, guitar, saxophone
Years active1970–present
LabelsBuddah Records, Arista, EMI-Capitol
Associated actsMiles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Ray Parker, Jr., Jean Carn, Norman Connors


He was one of the first notable bass guitarists of the fusion era as well as being one of the most influential jazz and soul musicians of the past 40 years. In addition to Davis, he has played and recorded with Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, the Dramatics, Doctor John, among many others. Henderson was one of the bass guitarists based in Detroit, along with Bob Babbitt and his primary influence, James Jamerson.

Before working with Davis, Henderson had been touring with Stevie Wonder, whom he met at the Regal Theater in Chicago while warming up for a gig. Davis saw the young Henderson performing at the Copacabana in New York City in early 1970 and reportedly said to Wonder simply "I’m taking your fucking bassist."[3] After almost seven years with Davis, Henderson focused on songwriting and singing in a solo career that produced many hit songs and albums for Buddah Records until his retirement in 1986. Although known primarily for ballads, he was an influential funk player whose riffs and songs have been widely covered. His solo recordings have sold well over one million albums.[citation needed] A track titled "Wide Receiver" on an album of the same name is highly favored by breakdancers. The album, along with others, was reissued in 2015. He is also known for his ballad vocalizing on several Norman Connors hit recordings, including "You Are My Starship" and "Valentine Love", performed with Jean Carn.

Henderson performing in 1971, with Miles Davis.


Many of his bass riffs have been imitated by players seeking the fat, deep grooves of the Motown sound. His bass riffs, from such hits as "Valentine Love" and "You Are My Starship", have been sampled by the likes of Snoop Dogg and L.L. Cool J, and his songs have been sampled and/or covered by Jay-Z (American Gangster), Eminem (for 8 Mile), and projects by Notorious BIG, Rick James, Wayman Tisdale and Sugar Ray, among others.[citation needed]

He currently lives in the US and plays shows intermittently, performing his solo material as well as that of other Motown and soul musicians. He has also played reunion concerts with other former members of the Davis electric bands.


As leaderEdit

With Miles DavisEdit

With Stevie WonderEdit

With The DramaticsEdit


  1. ^ McCall, Michael (1997). Erlewine, Michael; Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; et al. (eds.). "Michael Henderson". All Music Guide to Country: The Experts' Guide to the Best Recordings in Country Music. AMG All Music Guides. Hal Leonard Corporation: 88, 208. ISBN 9780879304751. 0879304758.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Jung, Fred. "A Fireside Chat With Michael Henderson." Allthatjazz.com, December 51, 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2014.

External linksEdit