Cory Henry has been blowing minds with his virtuosic organ playing since the age of 6, when he played his first gig at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater. At nineteen, he joined the touring band of Kenny Garrett, and has since toured with Bruce Springsteen, P. Diddy, Boyz II Men, and The Roots, among others. Henry is best known, however, for his role in the Brooklyn-based jazz collective Snarky Puppy, which helped to earn the group two GRAMMY awards, along with international critical acclaim for Henry’s keyboard skills. NPR has said his “musical charisma is a match for a nearly 400 pound organ,” while Keyboard Magazine dubbed his playing “soulful, church-y, playful, restrained, and virtuosic,” and The Boston Globe wrote of him that “if anyone’s going to preach the gospel of the Hammond organ, it should be Cory Henry.”
The Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival is no stranger to legends of the organ, with past acts including NEA Jazz Master Dr. Lonnie Smith. Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, however, put an entirely unique spin on jazz-organ-centric music, blending elements of blues, soul, R&B, Afrobeat, gospel, neo-soul, and jazz to create an intoxicating, hip, and fun new sound. On the group’s latest album, entitled ‘Art of Love,’ Cory Henry also steps into his own as a bandleader, composer, and vocalist. His vocals on the album are smooth and breathy, at points both understated and energizing, and while his keyboard playing has been compared to jazz giants like Oscar Peterson and Herbie Hancock, Henry’s singing evokes the sounds of Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Prince. Combining these sounds with an incredibly tight band makes for riveting live performances and an absolutely unforgettable sound.
Henry formed the Funk Apostles’ line-up from artists he’s met on the road over the years, and each one is an all-star in his own right. Adam Agati, on guitar, helped to write lyrics for the recent album, and has performed with everyone from Booker T. Jones to Ludacris; Sharay Reed, on the bass, has performed with the likes of Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin; TaRon Lockett, on drums, was one of Henry’s colleagues in Snarky Puppy, but has also performed with some of the biggest names in R&B, including Erykah Badu and Montell Jordan; finally, keyboardist Nick Semrad’s credits include Miss Lauryn Hill, Bilal, and Gabriel Garzon-Montano.
“The human voice is so powerful… When I’m singing, it’s like this extra way of connecting and communicating with people beyond what I can do playing the organ. I’m able to convey these messages that are really important and meaningful to me through my words. Being front and center like this every night, it’s a challenge, but I’m up for it.” Bringing infectious energy, top-flight song writing and musicianship, and a powerful, inspiring message, Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles are an absolutely must-see act that will become an instantaneous favorite.
Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles
Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles is the newest project of Brooklyn native Cory Henry, a member of two-time Grammy Award-winning jazz-R&B group Snarky Puppy, hailed by Rolling Stone as “one of the more versatile groups on the planet right now.” O