At Work: Cory Henry
The Art of Love
“It’s more than a band—it’s a sign,” Cory Henry says of his group The Funk Apostles, which he founded in 2015. Henry, a Brooklyn-born Hammond B-3 organ maestro, might be best known for his previous work with sprawling jazz-pop collective Snarky Puppy—with whom he won two Grammy Awards—or his solo albums, but his enthusiasm for his new Apostles clearly cements them as his primary creative focus.
“Within three years, this group has grown into something far more than what I expected,” Henry explains, adding that the members of The Funk Apostles—fellow keyboardist/synth player Nicholas Semrad, guitarist Adam Agati, drummer TaRon Lockett, bassist Sharay Reed, and vocalists Denise Stoudmire and Tiffany Stevenson— come from various parts of the country and each add their own flavor to the musical mix. “It’s like family at this point, and that makes the music that we play feel much different than any other group I’ve ever been a part of. These musicians are well-versed in so many different genres, and the music we share with one another helps to create a sound that I’ve never heard before.”
Henry and The Funk Apostles released their debut EP, Art of Love, this past summer and followed it up with a similarly themed single, “Love Will Find a Way.” With just seven tracks released in total, the group is already showing their musical range and prowess, shifting from the percussive R&B of cuts like EP opener “Trade It All” to the Curtis Mayfield vibe of “Our Affairs” to the modern funk of the more recent single. Henry also leans on his gospel roots (he grew up singing and playing keys in church, learning to play the organ starting at age 2) on “Send Me a Sign,” one of the two EP tracks featuring pedal- steel virtuoso Robert Randolph.
In October, Henry was able to spread his wings by hosting a weekly residency at New York’s famed Blue Note where he nodded to different influences and interests at each show. When asked what the future holds for his still-young outfit, Henry offers a simple but confident answer: “I believe that The Funk Apostles will be here forever.
“Playing music with [this band] is something I envisioned since I was a kid,” he continues, noting that The Funk Apostles’ next release is already in the works. “I never knew it would come around like this but, now that we are here, we are here to stay. We will continue to tour, play festivals and make music that I think the world needs to hear.”
This article originally appears in the December 2018 issue of Relix. For more features, interviews, album reviews and more, subscribe here.