James Henry Biography

James Henry is a master percussionist, songwriter, producer, charismatic performer and film score
composer. A San Francisco native, he was influenced by such greats as Narada Michael Walden, Pete
Escovido, Prince and Bill Somers.


His musical education began at age seven as a drummer in school and church. At age thirteen, while
peering through the window of Keystone Corner Club, jazz great Art Blakey noticed James and motioned
for him to come and sit in playing bongos and percussion. Mr. Blakey was so impressed he invited James
back the following night as well. By high school, he was writing and performing his own music. While
on stage in Sausalito, another musical icon, rock guitarist Jeff Beck, happened by, stopped in his tracks to
listen and said “Wow who is that? That's some funky rhythm!”


Possessing a passion for music and community, Mr. Henry has developed music curriculum for several
San Francisco Bay Area school districts. Sensitive to the healing qualities of music, he has used music
therapy techniques to help children and adults with special needs.


Renowned for its virtuoso polyrhythmic percussion joined with soulful harmonies and vocal melodies,
James Henry's Hands On Fire Band has captivated a worldwide following. The August 2018 CD release
of “World Fusion Jazz,” is a collection of compositions that reveals the ensemble's exceptional talent for
combining Afro-Funk, Urban Caribbean, Soca, R&B and House music into a unified and exhilarating
musical experience. Having been influenced by artistic styles from around the world his music has
resonated with audiences everywhere.


An active composer of film scores, Mr. Henry has written percussion soundtracks for Boots Riley's
“Sorry To Bother You” (to be released July 2018), Toni Tony Tone, Black Nativity, Twilight Zone,
Harlem Boys Choir, to name only a few. His previous release “Dragonfly,” was awarded Best CD out of
one thousand competing bands and Best of San Francisco's World Beat music.
Widely admired by his peers, James has recorded and performed with Sting, Santana, Narada Michael
Walden, Jennifer Saran, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Lisa Fischer and many other musical luminaries.