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Henry Gray

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Biography

Henry Gray ( January 19, 1925- Present) was born in Kenner, LA an outskirt of New Orleans. Within months his family moved up river to
Alsen, LA which is about 10 miles north of Baton Rouge. Henry’s family had a piano in their home. He began tinkering with piano around 8 years old. 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.

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