*Once again, EURweb moseyed on down to the Catalina Jazz Bar and Grill in Hollywood, to see Michael Henderson when he was recently in town for the Michael Henderson House Party Concert.
What can I say about someone I have seen five times in two years? Well, how about, I am a Michael Henderson fan. Always have been and always will be. I make no apologies for it. Be it solo, singing hits like, “Wide Receiver” or “In the Nighttime” or as part of a duet with Phyllis Hyman, Rena Scott, Roberta Flack or Jean Carne, the common denominator is Michael Henderson is the bizness!
Soooo, the YouTube advertisement said come in your favorite 70s outfit or regular clothes were okay. How about I was the only one in a 70s outfit. When I arrived and saw the venue was full and nobody came dressed for the house party, I was uncomfortable for about 2 minutes, but decided my night was going to be on and poppin and Michael made sure of it.
Michael came out singing Jr. Walker’s “Shotgun” but with a twist; he mixed in Rick James’, “You and I” and it was pretty funky. He then went into, “At the Concert,” his duo with Roberta Flack, as he asked for prayers for Ms. Flack’s current health challenges. He also threw in the comment, “I’d better stay healthy.” He continued the duet vein and went into, “We Both Need Each Other” and “Can’t We Fall in Love Again,” both duets with the late Phyllis Hyman.
Michael performed Johnny Taylor’s “I Believe in You” and Aretha Franklin’s “Young, Gifted and Black.” He paid homage to Aretha. There was also what I called the Dramatics portion of the show, where we practically overdosed on Michael Henderson written Dramatics sung songs. You know how we knew he wrote them all…because he said, “I ain’t doing nothing I didn’t write!” We heard, “In the Rain,” “What You See is What You Get,” “Get Up, Get Down,” “Be My Girl” and “Treat Me Like a Man,” which I’ll admit I am not familiar with.
We were treated to Michael’s rich deep voice on, “Let Me Love You” and his ability to mesh songs together, with “In the Nighttime” mixed in with Sly Stone’s, “If You Want Me to Stay” continuing through with “You Are My Starship” and capped off with “Take Me I’m Yours.” Some kind of way, in between the last two songs, Michael managed to mention he has always treated women with respect, saying, “You won’t see me being carried away in handcuffs.” Well, I hope not. LOL! Speaking of being carried away, Michael ran out of the joint as if it was on fire, with suitcase in tow. I hope he made his flight.
The band was totally on point as usual. I have to give mad props to the bass player, who was a last-minute fill-in and only learned the songs earlier that afternoon. He did not miss a beat. The sax player’s solo on “Valentine Love” was the absolute bizness, albeit incredibly long. The background singers, Tameron Gennae and Anise Goff, cannot even be called background singers, because they performed the female portions of Michael’s duets with absolute precision. They can sing their backsides off and can stand on their own, front and center.
Michael has been in the music business for over 50 years and has had a hand in countless songs, whether it was writing, playing bass, singing on it or all of the above. He has been playing bass for artists since around the time he was old enough to get a driver’s license. Although I personally enjoy seeing and hearing Michael Henderson and his bass escapades, he said he was not playing bass that night, because, “I don’t have to.” Well alrighty then!
Throughout the evening, Michael mentioned the vast amount of songs he has had a hand in and said he was mentioning it because if he didn’t, nobody else will and when the story is told, the people who heard Michael tell his own story will know whether or not what people say is accurate. I for one look forward to Michael being around long enough to tell his own story again and again. See you next time, Michael.
Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected].