UCSB Arts & Lectures presents the Santa Barbara debut of Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles on Wed., Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall. Arrive an hour early for a party in the plaza in front of Campbell Hall featuring a live DJ set, refreshments and other festivities.
Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles is the newest project of Brooklyn native Cory Henry, a member of two-time Grammy Award-winning jazz-R&B group Snarky Puppy, hailed by Rolling Stone as “one of the more versatile groups on the planet right now.” On his instrument of choice—the Hammond B-3 organ—Henry features his dynamic and improvisational performances of music ranging from old gospel to Stevie Wonder. He is winning a host of new fans and has been featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The Funk Apostles are some of the world’s best musicians, hand-picked by Henry to match his solo wizardry and charismatic nature.
Henry’s deft keyboard skills have been blowing minds around the world for more than two decades. At age 6, he made his debut at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, and at 19, he joined the touring band of jazz icon Kenny Garrett. Since then, he’s toured or recorded with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Roots, P. Diddy and Yolanda Adams, in addition to cracking the Top 10 on Billboard’s Jazz charts with a pair of solo albums. NPR hails him “a master” whose “musical charisma is a match for a nearly 400 pound organ,” while Keyboard Magazine dubs his playing “soulful, church-y, playful, restrained and virtuosic,” and The Boston Globe raves, “If anyone’s going to preach the gospel of the Hammond organ, it should be Cory Henry.”
Henry pieced together The Funk Apostles’ lineup out of players he met on the road over the years, and each member of the band is an all-star in their own right. Guitarist Adam Agati, who co-wrote the album’s lyrics with Henry, has worked with everyone from Booker T. Jones to Ludacris, while bassist Sharay Reed has performed with Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Chakha Khan and more.
Henry met drummer TaRon Lockett while he was playing with Snarky Puppy; he’s performed with some of the biggest names in R&B including Erykah Badu and Montell Jordan. Keyboardist Nick Semrad’s credits include Miss Lauryn Hill, Bilal and Gabriel Garzon-Montano.
Henry’s debut album with The Funk Apostles, Chapter 1: The Art of Love, was recently released. Listen to the lead single, “Trade It All,” released exclusively by The New York Times.
“I want to make music that really means something,” he explains. “I think of the ’60s and ’70s as this golden era of music, and if you look at some of the top artists then like Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder, they were singing about what was happening around them in this creative way that made people want to act. They used music as a tool to reach the world and bring about change to help make it a better place. I want to do that, too.”