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James Henry
Master Percussionist, Songwriter,
Producer, Performer, Film Score Composer, Recording Artist.

Inspired by greats such as Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder and James Brown, Bay Area artist James Henry embraced his hometown roots while pursuing a professional career in music.


Crossing all genres of music, experience the dynamic energy of innovative San Francisco artist, James Henry. Experience a new, fresh, modern style. Master percussionist, soulful vocalist, undeniably charismatic James Henry and his band Hands on Fire give a passionate and engaging performance every single time!

Recording Artist
James has played and recorded with well known artists such as Sting, Narada Michael Walden,  Santana, Norton Buffalo, Bob Weir, Pablo Cruz, Earl Klugh, Lisa Fischer, George Howard, Rodney Franklin, Robben Ford, Merle Saunders, Jennifer Saran, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, and many more.


Song Writer
James was awarded the best CD in Northern California out of 1000 bands as well as the Best of San Francisco’s World Beat Music. Performances at San Jose Jazz Festival, Bay Of Islands Jazz Festival, New Zealand and Hamburg Germany World Jazz Festival.

Film Score Composer

Composing TV & film scores with Narda Michael Walden/ Tarpin Studios as a session player.( Drums/ Percussion.) James is recognized among his peers in the music industry. With four critically acclaimed CD’s to his credit, James continues to explore new concepts.


                               LIVE SHOW                            

World Fusion

            PROMOTIONAL PHOTOS.                


Angelica's, Redwood City Ca.

Yoshi's, Oakland Ca./ S.F. Ca.

The Lesher Center of Arts. Walnut Creek Ca.

Throckmorton Theater. Mill Valley Ca.

The River Inn, Music & Wine.Big Sur, Ca.

The Fenix.  San Rafael , Ca

The Impulse Room Jazz Club. Walnut Creek, Ca.

Episcopal Church Oakland, Ca.

Davey Symphony Hall. San Francisco, Ca.

Stern Grove. San Francisco, Ca.

Mill Valley Film Festival. Mill Valley, Ca.

Tupelo. San Francisco, Ca.

Greek Theater. Berkeley, Ca.
Concord Pavilion. Concord, Ca.


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Jonathan Widran
Aug 19
JAMES HENRY, "Watermelon Man (Radio Remix)"
With one of the most identifiable, infectiously exuberant horn and piano riffs in contemporary jazz history, Herbie Hancock’s iconic 1962 composition “Watermelon Man” has been recorded over 200 times – including a well known hit version by Mongo Santamaria and a later funked-up twist by the composer himself. Just in time for its 60th year anniversary, the song everyone loves to jam to finds itself hitting the airwaves afresh in the wildly adventurous and imaginative soundscape of James Henry, a multi-talented, three time Grammy nominated percussionist, producer, film composer and leader of the Bay Area’s popular Hands on Fire Band.

The newly released Radio Mix blasts forth with 3 plus minutes of unbridled, exotic joy, launching with trilled vocal whoops, a seductive timbale groove by the legendary Pete Escovedo and a touch of bluesy keys before the sizzling horn vamp kicks in, accompanied by celebratory vocal harmonies and a dashing trumpet riff. A minute in, as the sizzling horn section begins to rise and throb anew, we get to the most colorful part of the boisterous arrangement, Bob Crawford’s sparkling, high octane Latin spiced piano solo – which romps over the irrepressibly exotic percussive flow.

As the seamless, dynamic ensemble keep the fiesta vibe going, the chant-along vocals Henry and legendary songwriter, producer and artist Narada Michael Walden heat up, turning helping this take on “Watermelon Man” from a transcendent cover version into a true anthem of our time, collectively capturing the feeling of toe tapping, shout out loud freedom as we emerge from the difficult year plus of pandemic and lockdown.

"Watermelon Man (Radio Mix)" here:

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