LP Your Kit hybrid with Latin Percussion instruments
Artist biography Henry Cole
Henry Cole is a shape-shifting drummer whose versatile, multicultural style positions him at the forefront of a growing wave of jazz innovation and cross-cultural 21st-century rhythms.
A Grammy award winner, Multi-time Grammy nominee, master drummer and skilled arranger. He draws inspiration from a long line of highly skilled Boricua Pioneers who performed in local, military and jazz bands. His sonic roots - African, Indigenous and European - have been brewing for years and have come together to create a unique, mestizo sound.
Henry Cole became the first Puerto Rican resident on the island - and the second nationwide - to receive the prestigious "New Jazz Works" Grant from the Chamber Music of America for his work as a composer with his group Villa Locura. Cole is also the first Puerto Rican percussionist who has published columns and master classes for “Down Beat Magazine".
A native of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Cole started playing the piano at the age of four and fell in love with the drums at the age of nine. The musical romance led to La Escuela Libre de Música de Mayaguez and the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. Initially inspired by Latin percussionists Giovanni Hidalgo and Anthony Carrillo, Cole discovered a passion for Jazz and improvised music while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. After moving back to Puerto Rico, Cole cultivated a reputation in Old San Juan's diverse music scene, working with poets, rappers, Bomba musicians, Pleneros, Rockers, and Salsa ringleaders.
In the fall of 2003 Cole moved to New York City to attend the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, where he received a scholarship to study with drummer and composer John Riley and quickly became one of the most in-demand sidemen.
Henry is an innovative, explosive drummer who takes Jazz to a never-before-explored dimension. Inspired by the album "Fela Ransome-Kuti and the Africa '70 with Ginger Baker," (1971) his debut album "Roots Before Branches" (2012) drew accolades across the industry. The World Music Report touted, “Henry Cole has left an indelible mark on music with a singularly memorable debut record, so aptly titled as to almost point in the direction in which the master drummer will be headed in the near future.” National Public Radio, selected the album as "One of the Five New Directions in Jazz Evolution.” Living legend Chick Corea applauded Cole for "beautifully expanding on the traditions he grew up with."
In 2018 Henry released the single, "El Diablo" feat Tito Allen from the upcoming album, "Simple" with his new group Villa Locura, where he combines a wide variety of musical influences such as Puerto Rican folklore, funk, R&B, jazz, and Afro-Caribbean rhythms and creates a unique genre that bridges the traditional with the contemporary.His second single "Caminando" which features Tego Calderon was released in 2019. He defines Villa Locura as "Raw, Spiritual, Interstellar Puerto Rican Funk!”. He defines Villa Locura as "Raw, Spiritual, Interstellar Puertorican Funk!" Literally and figuratively, Henry Cole is taking Puerto Rican "sabor" (flavor) to new, unexpected heights.
His flexibility, grace and sheer power behind the drum-kit has proven indispensable to some of the world’s most acclaimed jazz groups, including the Grammy-nominated Miguel Zenón Quartet, Grammy Award winner David Sánchez, The Gary Burton Quartet, Quincy Jone’s Global Gumbo, Fabian Almazan Rhizome, The Ben Wendel Quartet, the all-star quartet “90 Miles” featuring Sánchez, Stefon Harris and Nicholas Payton, Jazz Master Eric Reed and the pianist Chano Domínguez, a living legend of new flamenco.
Also, Henry has recorded and performed with Chambao, Calle13, Residente , Siete Nueve Balún , Velcro and Draco Rosa.
Cole arranged, recorded and produced a new version of the song "Donde vas Maria" by Antonio Cabán Vale for the 2019 Banco Popular Christmas Special “Tiempos de Aguinaldo" which featured his band Villa Locura and troubadour Ricky Villanueva.
A unique musician and spiritualist, Henry takes a holistic approach to his craft. "I practice, exercise, study and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I follow many artists, from Giovanni Hidalgo to Virgil Donati, Zakir Hussein, The Wailers, Camaron, Felix Alduen and Kanye West. I also study the work and ideas of Einstein, Newton, Michelangelo, Joseph Campbell, Eric Thomas, Napoleon Hill, Taoism, Kobe Bryant, and the legendary martial artist, Bruce Lee.”
In 2011 Henry's work with Miguel Zenon was nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. Also, he was awarded the Grammy for the Best Urban Rap Album with Calle 13. In 2017 Miguel Zenon Quartet’s “Típico” was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album, and Residente’s self-titled album won the Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Music.
Henry Cole teaches private lessons, workshops and master classes around the world and has showcased his work in prestigious festivals across the globe. He is an associate professor at Manhattan School Of Music, The New School, Academia Nazionale del Jazz, Sienna, Englesholm Jazz Camp in Denmark and an official Clinician for DW Drums.