CORY HENRY & THE FUNK APOSTLES | London, Koko

When Snarky Puppy started to emerge into the ears and consciousness of the twenty-somethings that have since propelled them to the forefront of new jazz, there was one pup in particular that demanded attention.  Amongst the layers of horn riffs and dazzling percussion, Cory Henry’s synthesiser would gurgle and rip with wailing solos captivating in both their harmony and technical proficiency.  He remains a precious asset on Snarky’s recording output, but Henry is now taking centre stage with his live performances, flanked by his stellar funk ensemble: The Apostles.  To be able to fill Koko on a night that competes with Herbie Hancock at the Barbican is testament to Henry’s pull in recruiting further disciples.

It’s hot funk from the first downbeat and it never gives up.  The Apostles update and upgrade James Brown and Bee Gee covers that have the crowd hollering in frenzied delight.  Henry makes for a charismatic leader as he bounces, dances, and tambourines from behind the organ.  His vocals benefit from the support of some tight backings, but his keyboard skills take on a life of their own: the audience cannot contain themselves when his synthesiser solos wriggle and squirm to limitless heights that contort and bend.  Henry has the discipline to favour pocket over pyrotechnics, but when he does light the fuse the display is dazzling.

Tell everybody!  How many bodies? Everybody!

The 2017 EFG London Jazz Festival continues until Sunday 19 November.

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