The truly joyful noise of Cory Henry’s B-3 needs almost no accompaniment on this live solo album of gospel, jazz, and R&B classics, which were recorded and filmed with an audience at the Greater Temple of Praise in Brooklyn, N.Y.
As a member of Snarky Puppy and an in-demand sideman, Henry plays any number keyboards, but the B-3 was his first instrument, and these performances display his great love of the mighty organ. By turns soulful, church-y, playful, restrained, and virtuosic, Henry takes full possession of well-loved songs, beginning with gospel tunes including “He Has Made Me Glad” and “Precious Lord,” and then he is joined by vocalist Jeffrey White on “Old Rugged Cross.” In this context, Henry's version of "If You're Happy and You Know It" takes on a gospel quality, as well, though he adds the irreverent line, "If you're happy and you know it, touch your neighbor."
Secular songs range from Coltrane's "Giant Steps" to The Beatles' "Yesterday" to Stevie Wonder's "All in Love Is Fair," but we can't stress enough how much Henry makes these songs his own. The very nature of the instrumentation—with mostly just B-3 and a little percussion on each song—takes each tune to a different place from the start, but Henry's arrangements masterfully bend the air and the percussive and harmonic qualities of the instrument in beautiful and eye-opening ways.
And if you want to see how far back Henry's love of the Hammond goes, check him out as age four, at the beginning of a very enjoyable documentary about his career: Gotcha Now.
One of the finest Hammond B-3 organ players of his generation, Cory Henry was a child prodigy, playing both piano and organ by the time he was two years old, making his debut at the legendary Apollo Theater when he was only six. He has worked in the studio and toured with countless artists, including Yolanda Adams, Stanley Brown, Israel Houghton, P. Diddy, Kirk Franklin, Kenny Garrett (the 19-year-old Henry became a fixture in Garrett's touring band for three years), Donnie McClurkin, Boyz II Men, Michael McDonald, Bruce Springsteen, the Roots, and many others. He has also worked as a bandleader and producer as well as an in-demand sideman. Falling closer to the Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson side of the Hammond organ jazz genre than Jimmy Smith, with maybe a little Billy Preston tossed in, Henry at his best combines the best of both gospel and jazz in his playing. His albums as a bandleader include the 2010 holiday set Christmas with You, 2011's Leave You Alone, and 2012's Gotcha Now Doc. Since 2012, Henry has been a member of the acclaimed experimental jazz and funk ensemble Snarky Puppy, with whom he won a 2014 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance and a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. In 2016, Henry released the gospel0infused solo effort The Revival. ~ Steve Leggett
Cory Henry, Hammond B-3 organ
Jeffrey White, vocals (04)
01. Lord's Prayer (Live)
02. He Has Made Me Glad (I Will Enter His Gates) [Live]
03. Precious Lord (Live)
04. Old Rugged Cross (feat. Jeffrey White)
05. NaaNaaNaa (Live)
06. That Is Why I’m Happy (Live)
07. If You’re Happy (And You Know It) [Live]
08. Giant Steps (Live)
09. All In Love Is Fair (Live)
10. Yesterday (Live)
11. I Want To Be Ready (Live)
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