"Master" Henry Gibson (August 9, 1942 - December 18, 2002) (not to be confused with the actor Henry Gibson) is the world's most recorded percussionist, appearing on about 1200 albums, spanning a career of four decades.
Born in the United States, Master Henry began playing on the streets of Chicago. While a young man he performed for Operation Push with Rev. Jesse Jackson. Later he became an integral member of Phil Cohran's revolutionary Artistic Heritage Ensemble. Later Gibson played and recorded with the popular jazz ensemble Odell Brown and the Organizers. Gibson spent a lot of time in Chicago recording studios, which allowed him to be noticed and picked up by professional musicians who took him on tour. One tour led to another, and soon he was playing and recording with artists such as Donny Hathaway (Everything Is Everything) and Curtis Mayfield. Gibson chose to go on the road with Curtis Mayfield and this led to his success and national recognition for his artistry on the bongo and conga drums.
While performing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Stockholm, Sweden, he met and later married his wife Anne, and made Stockholm his base. He died in Stockholm of a heart attack at age 60. His last concert appearance was with Khaled Habib and Zak Keith at the Lydmar Hotel in Stockholm.
His distinctive style can be heard among other recordings, on Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman." An unsung Soul artist, Henry felt he had more than paid his dues. In his later years, he was less and less content with being a sideman and began asserting himself as the main attraction, placing his percussion at the forefront of shows. He was known for getting upset with audiences in noisy venues -- after demanding their silence and full attention, he would instantly regain his focus and proceed to put on spellbinding performances on the bongos.
Months after his death in 2002, friends and musicians got together to organize a tribute concert at the Fasching jazz club in Stockholm. His music can still be heard daily on the radio, especially on recordings by Curtis Mayfield.
Henry appeared on several blaxploitation movies such as Super Fly.
Sonny Stitt And Bennie Green (My Main Man 1964),
Odell Brown & the Organ-izers (Ducky 1967: No More Water in the Well, Tough Tip, She's Coming My Way),
Ahmad Jamal (Poinciana Revisited, live 1969: Poinciana; Ahmad 1975: Superstition),
Donny Hathaway (Everything Is Everything 1970),
Kool & The Gang (Live At P.J.'S 1971: Dujii),
The Rotary Connection (Hey Love, 1971: If I Sing My Song, Sea & She, I Am the Black Gold of the Sun),
Eddie Harris (Instant Death, Atlantic 1971),
Roy Ayers (The Boogie Back 1974),
Leroy Hutson (Hutson 1975; Hutson II 1976: Love the Feeling, Situations, I Do, I Do, All Because of You, I Bless the Day, It's Different, Paradise, Closer to the Source 1978: Where Did Love Go?, Closer to the Source),
Natalie Cole (Natalie 1976),
Ben Sidran (Free in America 1976),
Ebony Rhythm Funk Campaign (Watchin' You, Watchin' Me 1976: Giving Me Less Love, Understanding, Watchin' You),
The Staple Singers (Pass It On 1976: Real Thing Inside of Me/Party, Take Your Own Time, Sweeter ...),
Curtis Mayfield (Super Fly 1972; Short Eyes 1977; Live at Montreux 1987: Introduction, Ice 9 Instrumental, Back to the World; Live in Europe 1987: Introduction, Ice 9, Back to the World; Never Say You Can't Survive/Do It All Night 1999; Curtis Mayfield & Linda Clifford 2000: Rock You to Your Socks, Right Combination, I'm So Proud),
Loleatta Holloway (Loleatta 1977: Hit And Run, Is It Just A Man's Way?, We're Getting Stronger),
Aretha Franklin (Almighty Fire 1978: Almighty Fire (Woman of the Future), Lady, Lady, More Than... ),
Walter Jackson (Good to See You 1978),
Minnie Riperton (Minnie 1979: Memory Lane, Lover and Friend, Return to Forever, All Of It, Lonely Girl, Happy New Love),
Paulette McWilliams (Never Been Here Before 1979: Don't Let Love Go, I'll Never Make You Cry, Main Squeeze),
Zak Keith (Sessions 1989: Shaw 'Nuff),
Nohelani Cypriano (Around Again 1995: Livin' Without You, Moon Of Monakoora, South Sea Island Magic),
Tyrone Davis (Best Of 1996: Let's Be Closer Together, In The Mood, Heart Failure, Close to You),
Bob DeVos (Breaking the Ice 1999: Breaking The Ice, Walk On By, You Don't Know What Love Is),
Gball da Godfather ("G"Street Remix 2000),
Stanley B (All For Love 2002: This Is 'B', Do You?, All For Love),
Earth Wind & Fire,
Red Rodney (Shaw 'Nuff),
...and about 1,170 more albums.,
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license