94

Henry Cole and the Afro Beat Collective: Roots Before Branches

James Nadal By

Sign in to view read count
Henry Cole and the Afro Beat Collective: Roots Before Branches There is much to be said about a musician stepping out from his comfort zone as an accomplished and acclaimed sideman to record the music he hears in his head, never forgetting where he came from, but steadfast in focus of where he is going.

Henry Cole has rapidly acquired an impressive résumé as a first-call drummer for recording sessions and performance tours. The compilation of all original music on his first release as producer/leader, Roots Before Branches, was inspired by none other than Afrobeat master Fela Kuti, demonstrating that there is a vast uncharted territory left to explore.

The introductory refrains from "Aurea V." set the transcendental tone for an album where the melodic solo by saxophonist David Sanchez weaves against tribal drumming building to a turbulent midsection, and then back to a calm ending. Sánchez is featured on three other selections: "To Believe Without Seeing" and "Año 2010," both with poet/lyricist Hermes Ayala's passionate outcry of inner rebellion to outward revolution; and the stellar "No Eres Tu Soy Yo," with its chunking guitar counterbalance oozing genuine Afrobeat essence.

As might be expected, there is high intensity drumming—not to overdrive the tempo, but to define the desired acceleration. "Solo Dos Veces," is Cole at his best, pushing the band to a frenetic pace—past an eerie organ, to an idyllic sax solo by John Ellis. "Musica Para Un Sueño," initiates with a Motown soul bass, setting up a banquet of pure electro-funk. Guitarist Adam Rogers wails on the rock-driven "Una Para Isabel," dedicated to Cole's wife and collaborator. These represent different approaches on how to keep exuberance in balance within an album's context.

Cole's hometown of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico is honored in "Comienza." For years there has been debate on whether the bomba beat did actually originate from this area; nevertheless, Cole cleverly based this tune, complete with the mandatory call-and-response, on the historical hoyoemula bomba beat. He delves into Spanish formality with "Uncovered Fears," utilizing the vintage voice of poetess Mara Pastor set against a backdrop of classical strings depicting visionary romance.

As a brilliant primary release of a promising musician, Roots Before Branches draws deep into Cole's musical foundations and influences, leading to the conclusion that the best is yet to come.


Track Listing: Aurea V.; Trabajala; To Believe Without Seeing; Año 2010, No Eres Tu, Soy Yo; Comienzo; Una Para Isabel; Solo Dos Veces; Uncovered Fear; Musica Para Un Sueño; Solo.

Personnel: Henry Cole: drums, keyboards (2-10); John Ellis: tenor sax ; Billy Carrion Jr.: baritone sax ; Juan Jose “Cheito” Quinones: trumpet (1-9); David “Piro Rodriguez: trumpet (3); Josh Evans: trumpet (10); Soren Moller: Fender Rhodes (1-5, 7-10); Sean Wayland: Fender Rhodes (6); Egui Santiago: keyboards (1-5, 7-10); Roy Guzman: guitar (1-5, 9); Adam Rogers: guitar (7); Ricky Rodriguez: bass (2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11); Willy Rodriguez: bass (1, 9); Pedro Perez: bass (4, 5); Alberto “Beto” Torrens: bomba barril (1-5, 7-9); Obanilu Allende: plena panderos (6), voice (6), bomba barril (10); Bryant Huffman: shekere (1-5, 7-9); Reynaldo de Jesus: shekere (10); Hermes Ayala: voice (2-4); David Sánchez: tenor sax ( 1, 3-5,) alto sax (2); Luis Rosa “El Chupa”: baritone sax (4); Jenny Scheinman: first violin (9); Megan Gould: second violin (9); Karen Waltuch: viola (9); Noah Hoffeld: cello (9); Miara Pastor: poetry reading (9).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Latin/World


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "The Reasons Don't Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Reasons Don't Change
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Return" CD/LP/Track Review Return
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "United" CD/LP/Track Review United
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!