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Henry Cole’s “Roots Before Branches” CD Review
Posted on 07. Jun, 2012 by Hector Aviles
“Root Before Branches” is the debut album for Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole with his “The Afro-Beat Collective” group. Henry Cole is a talented percussionist that has participated with many different groups of many different music genres. He brings to “Roots Before Branches” the experience of having participated in Grammy nominated or Grammy winning projects by Latin Jazz artists like Miguel Zenon (“Awake”, “Esta Plena”, “Alma Adentro”), David Sanchez (“Cultural Survival”), and the all-star quartet “90 Miles” with Sanchez, Stefon Harris, and Christian Scott.
For “Roots Before Branches”, Henry Cole assembled a talented group of musicians and some stellar old friends. Invited guests include Puerto Rican sax greats Miguel Zenon and David Sanchez as well as Adam Rogers (electric guitar) and John Ellis (Tenor sax).
The album, which was finally released in March 2012, was recorded and mixed at studios in Puerto Rico and New York City. It was produced by Henry Cole.
What I Liked About “Roots Before Branches”
Good song originality: the compositions in “Roots Before Branches” reflect the experiences Henry Cole has had as a musician, as they go from the funk, to rock, to hip hop, to poetry, to progressive jazz.
Great musicianship: everyone in the album executes exceptionally well. Henry Cole demonstrates his skill at the drums in various songs. The solos by guests Miguel Zenon, David Sanchez, Adam Rogers, and John Ellis are masterful.
Songs like the fusion “Comienzo”, the funky “To Believe without Seeing”, the poetic declamations in “Trabajala” and “Uncoered Fears”, and the more progressive “Una Para Isabel” make my favorite songs of the album.
What I Didn’t Like About “Roots Before Branches”
Too much psychedelic funkiness for my taste. Although I like the funky-psychedelic tune “To Believe without Seeing”, I did not care as much for “No Eres Tu, Soy Yo” and “Solo Dos Veces”.
I appreciate the originality of the poetic declamation of “Año 2010?, but the lyrics, although they sound nice, don’t make much sense to me.
My Recommendation of “Roots Before Branches”
“Root Before Branches” is a nice piece of musical work put together by Henry Cole in his debut album. I have mixed feelings about the album, as I like about half of it and don’t care much for the other half.
There is a lot of creative, original music in this album. I believe that as Henry Cole performs this music live, he’ll get to see the reaction of the audiences to the different musical styles he brings to the table. 06/07/12 >> go there