Born in tiny Cuthbert in 1897, big band/swing jazz icon Fletcher Henderson, Jr. will be honored with a posthumous honorary Doctor of Music degree at the upcoming 2017 Commencement Ceremony at that southwest Georgia town’s Andrew College on Saturday, May 6th beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Additionally, there will be an open house at the Henderson House – Henderson’s birthplace, built by his father in 1888 – on Sunday, May 7th from 2-4 p.m. to show the early stages of the building’s renovation. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Considered one of the most influential figures in American jazz history, Henderson wrote arrangements for Benny Goodman, and led his own group which at various times included Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins and many others. His song “Gin House Blues” was recorded by Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and The Animals.