From 1968 until the late ‘80s, Henderson mixed music and medicine. He received his first major musical exposure as a member of Herbie Hancock’s trailblazing Mwandishi sextet. From 1969 through 1973, the ensemble recorded Mwandishi, Crossings and Sextant. The experiences with Hancock exerted a profound influence on Henderson, as reflected in the music on his first two solo albums, Realization and Inside Out.
After leaving Hancock’s group, the trumpeter worked extensively with Pharoah Sanders, Norman Connors and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Henderson returned to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1975, where he joined the Latin-jazz group Azteca and fronted his own bands. The expressive rhythmic thrust of Henderson’s jazz/fusion experiences manifested itself on his Blue Note recordings Sunburst and Heritage, and in 1977, he broke through with a single on the Billboard charts, “Prance On,” from the album Comin’ Through.
Henderson has also performed with such notables as Dexter Gordon, Roy Haynes, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, Johnny Griffin, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, Max Roach and McCoy Tyner.