I think I own almost everything that Stevie Wonder has recorded and released, going back to the early 1960s. On a plane ride to Omaha in 2014, with my iPhone in shuffle mode, I stumbled across a live and somewhat obscure recording of “For Once In My Life” that Stevie made at a London nightclub in 1970.
The first thing I noticed was that the tempo was brighter than on the studio recording. The second thing I observed was the absolutely killer bass line that I was ready to attribute to James Jamerson, the uncredited bass player on scores of Motown hits in the 1960s and early 1970s.
It turns out the line was not by Jamerson but by Michael Henderson, a then 18-year old phenomenon who who soon catch the eye of Miles Davis. Here’s a snippet from the live show.
I’m not the only one that’s been taken by how good this line is. There are at least two YouTube videos that pay homage to Henderson’s bass playing, including this one.
Jeez, this is good.