Artist: Corey Henry
Label: Louisiana Red Hot
Release Date: 09/09/2016
Corey Henry has long been in the ranks of fellow New Orleans, Treme born and raised trombonists, Trombone Shorty and Glen David Andrews. Now he has his own national debut. Henry is the former leader of the Little Rascals Brass band and a formidable force in Galactic. His earlier lineage includes the Rebirth Jazz Band and Kermit Ruffins. Today, he is the front man for his own popular Treme Funktet that plays here, along with so many people that it’s rather staggering to count the nine vocalists and 21 musicians on various tracks. The album is a blend of pure funk, rap and an updated New Orleans second line sound. Henry co-produces with Brooklyn-based Pimps of Joytime producer and multi-instrumentalist Brian J.
The two add numerous high profile guests to the proceedings too. Corey Glover from Living Colour takes the lead vocal on their innovative cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9.” Greg Thomas from George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic adds his alto sax to three tracks. The more traditional New Orleans tune, “Baby C’mon,” features the vocal of Cole “Ms. Cake” Williams. Ben Ellman and Robert Mercurio of Galactic and the late Trumpet Black make appearances as well as Henry’s daughter, Jazz, who also plays trumpet.
This may well be one of the funkiest albums you’ll ever hear, whether you love brass or not. Maybe we should call this a kind of modern day second line sound. Glean some of these titles that reflect this funk-rap- New Orleans mash-up. For example, consider “Treme Lyfe,” “Feeling Tremazin” and “Tell Ya Mama Nem.” You certainly won’t be able to sit still listening to this vibrant array of tunes, but if you need to sample first, be sure to check “If 6 Was 9,” “Baby C’Mon,” “Muddy Waters” and “We Got the Funk.” Despite the many sounds, Henry’s muscular trombone comes through more than clearly. He often roars.
I’d be remiss without mentioning the quality of the Louisiana Red Hot label. Sometimes an independent label reaches a point where you can just absolutely count on excellent product even if you are not familiar with the artist. You buy the album because you trust the label. This is the case with older labels like Hightone, Blacktop and Flying Fish and, of course, long-running ones like Alligator and Delmark. You just know that you can buy with confidence.
Those who have heard Henry’s Funktet have long accepted him as a frontman. Now the rest of us can hear this lively, hip-shaking, contemporary New Orleans master.