Henry Gray - Blues Pianist, vocalist
Henry Gray built a Hall Of Fame Chicago blues pedigree during the 40-plus years between his 1946 arrival in the Windy City after military service and his 1969 move to Baton Rouge. In Chicago he became best known for his extended stay with the Howlin' Wolf band. Henry is still at the top of his game as a standard-setting pianist, a singer and songwriter of conviction and a consummate, inspiring ensemble player.
Soon after arriving in Chicago in 1946, Henry began frequenting the clubs and joints checking out the piano players and measuring his skills and talents with theirs. While doing this, Henry caught the eyes and ears of Big Maceo Merriwether, who is considered one of the best blues and barrel house piano players in history. Merriwether mentored Henry and showed him the ropes in the blues scene in Chicago.
It wasn't long before Henry was being sought after for his abilities. For the next twenty-two years, Henry played and/or recorded with many notable players and innovators of the blues.
In 1956, Howlin' Wolf asked Henry to join his band. Henry remained Wolf's main piano player until 1968. This is evidenced on many of Wolf's recording during this time. During the fifties and sixties, Chess records employed Henry many times as side man on their recordings. Also, he can be heard on many of J. D. Miller's Louisiana Excello blues recordings in the fifties and sixties. He lent his rousing piano to studio outings by Wolf, Little Walter, Billy Boy Arnold, Jr. Wells, Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Morris Pejoe, Dusty Brown and Harold Burrage. His Chicago sessions as a leader for a handful of hallowed labels all remained un-issued for too many years.