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Sunday Jams With Rob Henderson

Rob Henderson 1

Rob Henderson's Jam Sessions - Sundays at 6pm

Alma Mater
7165 Germantown Ave,
Philadelphia, PA 19119

 

Drummer, Robert H. Henderson has a career as a jazz musician that spans over two decades. His inimitable style combines influences from historically legendary stick men, such as: Art Blakey, Arthur Taylor, Kenny Clarke, and “Big” Sid Catlett. Henderson is an efficient jazz drummer, who has the ability to play in a variety of styles. He is adamant about “swingin’ hard”.

 

Henderson, known as “Rob” is a native Philadelphian who has played and studied with Hank Mobley, Bootsie Barnes, Donald Byrd, “Philly” Joe Jones, Shirley Scott, Billy James, Christian McBride, and Larry McKenna. As a result, the bandstand was his “school” as a young musician. Rob has gone on six European tours with various artists, as well as with his own band The H Factor.

 

Rob Henderson has released two CDs on the Philly Breakdown record label. His debut CD ‘Less is More’ and  ‘RH Positive.’ He is active locally doing radio and TV shows, as a well as concerts and club dates. Most recently, he has started a series of Sunday evening concerts at Alma Mater in Germantown.

 

Rob Henderson's Jam Sessions - Sundays at 6pm

Alma Mater
7165 Germantown Ave,
Philadelphia, PA 19119

 

PJP spoke with the drummer, bandleader Rob H. Henderson about his work and his new weekly project at the Germantown venue, Alma Mater.

 

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?

 

Henderson: My direction in music is about trying to sound as relevant as possible to what's happening inmy world. I'm also concerned about what's happening in the world abroad. We're trying to reach a broader audience by listening to what's new in jazz, as well as other types of music. People have to feel the music, just as much as listening to it.

 

PJP: Can you briefly describe your direction as a songwriter and composer?

 

Rob Henderson 2Henderson: I don't really write music too much. Not on paper anyway. I've written some songs in the past, but it was just for me. (no pun intended) As a drummer, I'm constantly composing on the bandstand, and doing it with split second timing.

 

PJP: What and whom are pivotal influences on your creative approach as a playwright & musician?

 

Henderson: My major influence has always been the music itself. I've learned from all the greats, from those on the global scene, to our local heroes. Whether the music is a jaz standard or something written today, I'm influence by it all.

 

 

PJP: Can you tell us about your concert series at Alma Mater?

 

Henderson: The series at the Alma Mater is basically a jam session. These sessions have been a part of the jazz culture since forever. LOL. It's where everyone learns from each other. Among other things, you learn bad habits to avoid musically and socially. We have an array of artists that come each week from the neophyte, to the masters and for me, it's an honor to continue such a rich tradition.

 

PJP: Can you tell us about the music and the musicians who participate in your Sunday series?

 

Henderson: The musicians are mostly from the Philadelphia/tri-state area. Although occasionally, we'll have guest artists from different parts of the world stop in, to swing with us. Each week, there's a different pianist and bassist, from keyboard and bass masters to rising stars.

 

Rob Henderson 3PJP: What is it about Germantown audiences that makes them so special, such loyal Jazz fans?

 

Henderson: So many prominent musicians have lived in the Germantown area. For the most part, they're always accessible. You could see them playing at the local clubs on their down time, when they were off the road. Who wouldn't go see their famous neighbor play right in the neighborhood? I remember when Philly Joe Jones was living in Germantown and he played a place called Trey's. That was in the neigborhood and it was packed most of the time. Germantown is just a great place.

 

PJP: What advice would you give to your audiences to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment of this project?

 

Henderson: Show up. Ask questions. Meet and greet and that's for the artist ,as well as the audience.

 

Rob Henderson's Jam Sessions - Sundays at 6pm

Alma Mater
7165 Germantown Ave,
Philadelphia, PA 19119

 

*Photographs by Anthony Dean

 

 

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Tags : RobertH.Henderson ArtBlakey ArthurTaylor KennyClarke “Big”SidCatlett AlmaMater Germantown PhillyJoeJones HankMobley BootsieBarnes DonaldByrd ShirleyScott BillyJames ChristianMcBride LarryMcKenna TheHFactor SundayNightJamSessions Philadelphia

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If it hadn't been for him, there wouldn't have been none of us. I want to thank Mr. Louis Armstrong for my livelihood.
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