Cory Henry has been playing the Hammond B-3 organ since he was two years old. It was his first love, and on new album/DVD The Revival, he has crafted a tribute that shows where the instrument has been and where it can be taken in his monumentally talented hands. Filmed and recorded in Henry’s native Brooklyn at the Greater Temple of Praise, The Revival (out March 18th), finds Henry taking the organ across multiple genres – gospel, R&B, jazz, soul – in a performance that needs to be seen as much as heard. Snarky Puppy band mate Michael League calls The Revival “a master class for the organ.”
Although the setlist on The Revival draws from a well-known canon (from old gospels to Stevie Wonder), Henry stretches and pulls, driving the songs into unfamiliar territory and coming up with altogether new takes. There’s an almost frenzy to “That’s Why I’m Happy” and “I Want to Be Ready,” while other songs move the crowd to, well, happier places. Henry is joined on the recording by drummer James Williams and his godfather, Bishop Jeffrey White, who delivers a stunning vocal take on “Old Rugged Cross.”
“I did ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ because it’s fun,” says Henry, who gets his fans into a full singalong. “And it’s interesting how it works, because it comes right before the devotional tune ‘That’s Why I’m Happy.’”
Henry won a Best R&B performance Grammy last year as part of Snarky Puppy, and is nominated again this year for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for his work with Snarky Puppy on Sylva.
Henry will also release a second album later this year, this one with The Funk Apostles. Whereas The Revival is a tribute to his first love, the Hammond organ, and a showcase for his exceptional talents on the instrument, the coming album with The Funk Apostles will feature a full band sound – forged by nearly 100 shows over the last year. It is a synthesis of Henry’s many influences – Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, James Brown. Henry will be taking a classic sound into the here and now. As Henry says, “my way, my take.”