Henry Cole

On Drums

Give the drummer (and the pianist) some

Posted on Sep 30, 2018 in Blog, Music, News

Give the drummer (and the pianist) some

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“Even better is the self-released debut from Henry Cole & the Afrobeat Collective, Roots Before Branches. Cole is also from Puerto Rico, and on this album, he portages the Nigerian style invented by Fela Kuti through his homeland as well as his current home, New York. Most of the songs are built on the irresistibly funky, stuttering groove immortalized by the great Tony Allen, but Cole is no purist, and the word “collective” in his band’s name is no stretch; the record includes contributions from about 20 players, both in New York and San Juan, and was recorded in both towns. The album expertly juggles diverse ideas and elements: expansive improvisations from horn players Cole works with (including Zenon and David Sanchez), fierce Spanish-language rapping, plenty of Afro-Caribbean rhythms, rumba chants, rock guitar, a classical string quartet, and more. On paper that apparent hodgepodge would make me cringe, but Cole integrates it all masterfully—Roots Before Branches is an energizing, natural-sounding example of the New York melting-pot style. It’s hard for any single song from the album to convey its cumulative richness, so bear that in mind when you listen to the track below.”

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