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Artist Profile: Drummer Henry Cole

For his debut album, drummer Henry Cole put together a band united under the umbrella of Afrobeat.

Drummer Henry Cole is at the forefront of a growing wave of jazz innovation and cross-cultural rhythm in the 21st century. With his flexibility, grace and sheer power behind the drum kit, he has proven indispensable to the sound of some of the world’s most acclaimed jazz groups, including the Grammy-nominated Miguel Zenón Quartet ,Grammy winner David Sánchez , The Gary Burton Quartet, Quincy Jone’s Global Gumbo, Alfredo Rodriguez Trio, The Ben Wendel Quartet and the all-star quartet “90 Miles” featuring Sánchez, Stefon Harris and Nicholas Payton. He has also recorded and performed with Chambao, Calle13, Residente and Draco Rosa.

A Puerto Rican native, and a current resident of New York, he has toured throughout the globe, performing in the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Central America, Korea, and Japan. He combines various musical influences – Puerto Rican folklore, funk and R&B, jazz and Afro-Caribbean rhythms – creating his own unique genre that bridges the traditional with the contemporary. When not on tour, he teaches musicians in acclaimed classrooms, including those of Manhattan School of Music, The New School &  The Sienna Workshops. His main goal is to see music as “One World,” a space beyond styles, reaching out to audiences of all kinds with a message of determination and unity. By the end, Henry Cole will “have made you smile, made you think, surprised you, and – most of all – made you want to dance” (JamBands).

 “Henry Cole is a unique musician. A spiritualist first, this aspect of his character informs everything else that follows. Cole’s music has a hypnotic effect on the inner ear, and it strikes deep inside the soul transmitting its powerful electricity to the whole body en route. Then there is that seductive energy that radiates from the skins of his drums, fibrillating at uncountable beats a minute as they are propelled by the magical wand like the effect of his sticks as they strike those skins, eyeless, but leaden with the rhythms of heart and soul. Cole has left an indelible mark on music with a singularly memorable debut record, so aptly titled as to almost point in the direction in which the master drummer will be headed in the near future. “ The World Music Report


A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject.


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