Twenty eight year old drummer Henry Cole emerged onto the music scene in old San Juan in 1999 where he studied classical percussion at the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico. However, it was not until a few years later--while attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston-- that Cole's musical evolution pointed him naturally towards the jazz tradition. He went back home with a new energy and focus and performed as the "house drummer" for the 1st Annual "Jazzboriken" Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He played with such Latin jazz luminaries as Giovanni Hidalgo, Bobby Valentin, Anthony Carrillo, Dave Valentin, Paoli Mejias, currently he is a drummer of Miguel Zenon, David Sanchez and Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez .
Roots Before Branches (New Album Release on 2012)
Afro-Beat Collective was inspired by the influence of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, legendary Nigerian Afro-Beat musician and Human Rights activist. The music of this recording is a result of a fusion of Afro-Beat, Puerto Rican Bomba (Sika), Cuban Rumba, English Rock, American Jazz and R&B and focuses on the sensibilities, intent and message that each of these genres historically express. In other words, the Project embodies a conceptual musical approach expressed as a collective by individual musicians, each sharing a developed and progressive musical background, knowledge and experience. It also focuses on political messages, strong commitment and the ability to reach a wide range audience through Afro-Puerto Rican Music.
The foundation of the Rhythm is based on the "Bomba" , tradition from Puerto Rico, mostly "Bomba Sika" and "Bomba Cuembe"; the rhythmic knowledge and European influences of the "Cuban Rumba" and the strong commitment to the "Groove" and "Soulfulness" of R&B music. A combination that when mixed with the intellectual, experimental virtuosity characteristic of Jazz music with a strong emphasis on "organic interactions" results in an explosive, rhythmic, memorable sound filled with life, history and universality. To exemplify this music, Cole imagines - Miles Davis's "Bitches Brew" sessions: only that instead of going in the direction of Rock like it did, imagine if the session had gone more towards the Afro Caribbean traditions.
Afro-Beat Collective explores the need and importance of exploring and sharing thoughts, desires, emotions , history and culture through music. This work uses musical folklore as a source of inspiration.
The objective of this project is to to create music derived from a deliberate intention to transmit a message of determination, substance and, most importantly, Unity. To see music as One World, a musical space that transcends and breaks free from styles and any kind of sound that compromises the skills of the musicians playing and the importance of musicianship or group collaboration and expression.