music / Columns

Jam Central Station: Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles Review – 9.12.18 – Cleveland, OH

September 15, 2018 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski



Cory Henry may be best known for the funky jazz and improv of Snarky Puppy, but the pioneering keyboardist has a broad style that even exceeds Snarky Puppy’s range. By putting together his Funk Apostles band, Henry has been able to explore a variety of other styles and build a band in his image. The result is a group of all-stars that mix styles into a smooth sound both live and in concert.

The first thing to mention about a Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles show is that the name of the band is a bit of a misnomer. While the band certainly has some elements of funk, they spend more time exploring soul, R&B, and gospel roots. Henry leads the group on his Hammond and with his vocals while the band moves between rising funky jams and smooth soulful grooves. The band included drums, bass, guitar, a second keyboardist, and a pair of excellent female vocalists. Everyone had an opportunity to shine throughout the night, with Henry in particular shining on the Hammond.

What the band did best was bring joy and love to the stage. From the very beginning where Henry had the crowd singing in a gospel call-and-response style, the band was at their best when they were building positive emotions on stage and into the crowd. It’s no surprise that Henry’s most recent release is titled Art of Love and that the show relied heavily on that material. This meant that, along with the excellent band, Henry’s vocals were on full display. Like many before him, Henry came up singing and performing in church, and those roots clearly never left him. During the show he led the band and the audience through a 90 minute revival in a modern style.

While the entire band was certainly top notch, there were some standouts. Keyboardist Nick Semrad was critical to the band’s sound. His bouncing jams were a nice counterpart to Henry’s Hammmond. And guitarist Adam Agati was able to move from chill soul riffs to absolutely masterful rock solos without blinking an eye. My favorite moments of the night where when the band really cut loose and Agati was usually leading the charge when that happened. Of course, none of this would have worked without solid work from the rhythm section, and having a pair of additional vocalists filled out the sound.

Henry has talked about his influences. It’s easy to hear Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green in the music he does. Luckily, while Henry pays tribute to his influences (including an extended encore of “Proud Mary”), he is pushing boundaries and he isn’t afraid to try something new. With Art of Love he showed that soul is still alive and kicking. With his live performance, Henry and his band brought that soul to the audience. While the funk may have been limited, the smooth soul and R&B jams kept the crowd moving throughout the show.



Destination events announced for Phish, Dave Matthews
As we leave summer festival season, more artists are announcing their winter destination events. This year, both Phish and Dave Matthews will host events at Riviera Maya in February. Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds will perform three shows at their event running February 15-17, while Phish will host 3 nights from February 21-23. Packages for both events are on sale now.

Winter Wondergrass Vermont gets lineup
Winter Wondergrass will host their first event in the eastern half of the country this December. This iteration of Winter Wondergrass will include Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Keller & The Keels, Billy Strings, Fruition, The Rumpke Mountain Boys, and many others.

Charles Bradley to release posthumous album
Charles Bradley passed away last year, and fans sadly wondered how much excellent music he could have created had he not succumbed to cancer. Luckily Bradley did have a nearly completed album that will be released on November 9. Black Velvet will include 10 new tracks from the Screaming Eagle of Soul.


Colorado Kind Festival
September 14-15
Planet Bluegrass
Lyons, CO
The String Cheese Incident, The Motet, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Drunken Hearts,

FreshGrass Festival
September 14-16
North Adams, MA
Trampled By Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, Indigo Girls, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steep Canyon Rangers

The Festy Experience
October 5-7
Arrington, VA
Greensky Bluegrass, Gillian Welch, Railroad Earth, Sam Bush Band, Billy Strings, Della Mae, Fruition, Carbon Leaf, Bonnie Paine, The Lil’ Smokies

Hillberry Music Festival
October 11-14
Railroad Earth, Trampled By Turtles, Sam Bush, Lettuce, The Wood Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Split Lip Rayfield

Suwannee Hulaween
October 25-28
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
The String Cheese Incident, Jamiroquai, Odesza, The Revivalists, STS9, Lettuce, Trampled by Turtles, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, Galactic, Turkuaz, The Wood Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

Hangtown Music Festival
October 25-28
Placerville, CA
Railroad Earth (3 Nights), The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Trampled By Turtles, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe presents Eat a Bunch of Peaches, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Pimps of Joytime

Strings & Sol
December 7-11
Puerto Morelos, MX
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon

December 12-16
Puerto Morelos, MX
The Disco Biscuits, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Ghost Light

Winter Wondergrass Vermont
December 14-16
Stratton, VT
Railroad Earth, Infamous Stringdusters, Keller & The Keels, Fruition, Billy Strings, Kitchen Dwellers, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Rumpke Mountain Boys

Tropical Throe.down
January 10-14
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
moe., The New Mastersounds, Big Something

Jam in the Sand
January 15-19
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra, The Wailers, Green Leaf Rustlers

International Incident
January 25-28
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
The String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams

Panic en la Playa Ocho
January 25-29
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Riviera Maya
February 15-17
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Phish in Riviera Maya
February 21-23
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 22-24
Steamboat Springs, CO

Winter Wondergrass California
March 29-31
Squaw Valley, CA

Bender Jamboree
April 11-14
Plaza Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, Billy Strings


Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!