The Mancunion

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Live: Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles

Cory Henry leaves our jazz specialist Pierre Flasse lost for words (almost)


Band On The Wall

13th November


Cory Henry, the man behind Snarky Puppy, worked on request with Robert Glasper, P. Diddy and The Roots. Henry positions an incense candle and a mug of tea behind his keyboard, which is set to jazz organ.

It’s almost impossible to know where to begin in describing what was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. The outfit has Cory on keys, often brandishing a vivacious tambourine and dancing around the stage in a frenzy. There’s a synth player, guitar, bass and dual drum set up. This man set up the Funk Apostles in January 2015, and they’ve just embarked on a four month tour.

Knowing Cory from Snarky Puppy, it was easy to recognise similarities between those tunes and this, but his sound is like an unleashed wild version of Snarky, combined with gospel, cranking funk guitar lines and insane energy. Each tune blends into another, and there’s only actually four breaks across all the charts, as everything merges into another. The music is entirely transformative and develops into a creature, an entity let loose and free from the night’s beginnings.

The music itself has rigid drum sets in military synchronisation, with often heavy synth lines, beautiful jazz organ riffs and Cory’s soothing voice across the top. Each solo brings a new dimension to the band, from the guitarist descending into playing with his teeth, the drummers moving their sticks faster than my eyes can register, and Cory’s simply jaw-dropping jazz organ solos. He lays down the most incredible, fast music, and doesn’t even look at his fingers.

They come down to a gorgeous broth of energy, hype, noise and excitement on a new level, combined with pure, absolute, virtuoso skill. I’ve been left awestruck by the new funk fusion kids on the block.

  • Stephen Johns

    Having seen a good few musicians going back to the 1960’s, I can say that Cory Henry is up there with the best of ‘um. Surpassed perhaps only by Parliament/Fundkadelic at Manchester Belle Vue in the 1978 this was an amazing performance. Similarities with George Clinton and James Brown segueing from one piece to the next didn’t go unnoticed nor the way in which he had the audience in the palm of his hand. Truly amazing.