"Master" Henry Gibson / Aug 9, 1942 - Dec 18, 2002

Drawing: Steve Kraków aka Plastic Crimewave.

If anyone is going to give the late, great Ralph MacDonald a run for his money as "most recorded percussionist of all time" it could very well be "Master" Henry Gibson (or so he claims, anyway).

A Chicago native, he honed his chops in the streets and studios of the Windy City. He cut hundreds of sessions, including some early jazz dates with the likes of Sonny Stitt and Ahmad Jamal. He joined Odell Brown & the Organ-izers, recording for the Chess subsidiary Cadet. He was the featured percussionist on Donny Hathaway's hit "The Ghetto" and played with a host of Chicago greats: Phil Cohran & his Artistic Heritage Ensemble, Charles Stepney's Rotary Connection, Ramsey Lewis, Earth Wind & Fire, Eddie Harris (on Instant Death, one of Eddie's best records), Minnie Riperton and others.

But the biggest Chi-town connection for him was when he joined Curtis Mayfield's band and he went on the road with them and became a major part of Curtis' band and sound, all the while hugely increasing Gibson's visibility. Of course, he was a major part of the sound and style of the Superfly soundtrack and several other of Curtis' classic albums.

But he also played and recorded with folks like the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Kool & the Gang, Natalie Cole, Roy Ayers, Aretha Franklin, Staple Singers, Charles Earland, Kenny Burrell, Gipsy Kings, Ebony Rhythm Funk Campaign and many, many more.

In the '70s & '80s he made a home in Hawaii, recording with the well-known fusion ensemble Lemuria, among others, and playing in local bands as a featured star. He then moved to Sweden, where he was a very active and notable presence. He passed away in 2002.

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  • Henry Ihander on

    Master Henry Gibson was a great soul, good friend and an amazing artist. Had an honor to learn to know him a short time and we were working at my studio in Stockholm and even wrote one song together just before he tragically passed away just before the Xmas 2002. I even designed some of his cd covers private so he could sell his music on his gigs at a boat called Rygerfjord in Stockholm. All this information can be verified by Anne Gibson and Chuck Anthony. Henry Eugene Laze R.I.P Master Henry Gibson

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