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Al Hendrickson


  • Born Alton Reynolds Hendrickson 10 May 1920, Eastland, Texas
  • Died 19 July 2007, Coos Bay Oregon

Al Hendrickson held "first call" rights to the rhythm guitar position in Hollywood studios from the mid-1950s through the late 1970s. He was one of the few session men who settled in California before World War Two, although he did go on the road frequently, touring with Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, and Ray Noble. Goodman and Noble also coaxed him up to the mike on occasion to spotlight his excellent baritone, and his cover of "On a Slow Boat to China" with Goodman was a million-seller in 1947. Hendrickson also had the unhappy privilege of being a member of both Billy May's and Neal Hefti's resoundingly unsuccessful road bands of the early 1950s.

Rhythm guitar is deliberately not meant to be showy, but Hendrickson's strong pulse and subtle touch ranks at the top of the field. No wonder he was such a hot commodity, performing with everyone from Ray Conniff and Pete Fountain to Quincy Jones, Nelson Riddle, Henry Mancini, and Lalo Schifrin. He was one of the five board members in the Warner Brothers' ensemble, Guitars, Inc.

Hendrickson wrote several books of guitar instruction for Mel Bay, including Deluxe Bass Chords, Arpeggios and Scales and Al Hendrickson Jazz Guitar Solos. A regular member of Frankie Capp's "Juggernaut" big band of the late 1970s, he and his wife Patti, an actress and singer, retired to Oregon in the late 1980s.


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