His first teacher was Mrs. White. Henry would hear her playing as he either walked by or rode his bicycle by her house. Henry was interested in the blues so she agreed to teach t him what she knew.
Henry's family had a piano in their house but they only allowed gospel not blues to be played in the house. Henry played gospel as well but he loved the blues, jumps and boogie-woogies. After serving in WWII, Henry moved to Chicago in 1946 where he met pianist Big Maceo Merriwether who became his mentor. Henry remained in Chicago for thirty years.
Henry is most famous as Howlin' Wolf's pianist from around 1956-1970 or so. Some of the other artists Henry worked with as well are Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Rogers, Elmore James, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Morris Pejoe, Henry Strom, Billy Boy Arnold, Hubert Sumlin, Snooky Pryor, Buddy Guy, Smokey Smothers, Sam Lay, Chuck Berry, Slim Harpo, Junior Wells, James Cotton, Koko Taylor and others. Henry returned to Baton Rouge around 1968-70 due to his father's illness.
After his father passed he remained in Baton Rouge to be near his mother and resides there still. He continues to perform and record with his own band Henry Gray & the Cats. In 2006, Henry received an NEA National Heritage Fellowship award, the top honor for a folk artist in our nation. In 2005, Henry participated in "Legends of the Blues," the first blues concert in the history of the Lincoln Center in New Your city.
He was nominated for a Grammy in 1998 for his collaborative work with Taj Mahal, Hubert Sumlin, Kenny Neal and others on TELARC Record's " A Tribute to Howlin Wolf." You can learn more about Henry at www.henrygray.com. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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