‘Purple Rain’ Raises See Level in Rotterdam

An orchestral version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam has created a tsunami effect for Cory Henry, who brought it to the stage with conductor Jules Buckley and the Metropole Orchestra. A video of the performance has received 93,496 views in a week for the Brooklyn-based artist, making it a smash by classical-jazz standards, and formidable for pop.

Prince’s music doesn’t receive the orchestral treatment with the frequency of, say, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, and this is one of the more interesting examples, and fans of the purple rocker and genre-busting interpretation will find it worth a look. The innovative Buckley, 37, has been leading the Metropole since 2013, and this is not his first collaboration with Henry, who tours the globe non-stop with his latest project, the Funk Apostles. Japan, Norway, Slovenia, Denmark, London and Poland are some of the dates on his very busy calendar.


A bright talent with a big future, the world will no doubt be learning more about him, and we want to be able to say you read it here first. Some facts about the 30-year-old Henry:

 Snarky Puppy was his previous band, with which he shared a 2014 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance and a 2016 Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for the album Sylva, which featured Metropole.

He is a keyboardist whose instrument of choice is the 400-lb Hammond B-3 Organ, on which he worked the guitar solos of the above-mentioned “Purple Rain.”

Considered a child prodigy, he played the piano at age 2, and gave his first public performance, at the Apollo Theatre, at age 6.

The Funk Apostles is comprised of: Adam Agati, guitar; Taron Lockett, percussion; Nick Semrad, keyboard; Sharay Reed, bass), were hand-picked to bring Cory’s musical concepts to life and have played with the likes of Lauryn Hill, Patti LaBelle, Erykah Badu and Aretha Franklin.

– Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles’ debut album is coming this fall. It is a departure from Henry’s last solo album The Revival (2016), which was a tribute to his first love, the Hammond organ, and a showcase for the instrument.

His influences include: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Billy Preston, D’Angelo, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix and James Brown.

Jimmy Fallon had him sit in with The Roots after seeing him at the Jazz Standard in NYC, securing Henry’s first appearance on The Tonight Show.

A New York Times appearance with Erykah Badu in November 2016 has generated 4 million views and 50k shares on Facebook Live

He is also a producer, and has performed with and/or produced for: P. Diddy, Lenny Kravtiz, Kenny Garrett, Aretha Franklin, Lenny Kravitz, Raphael Saadiq, Ledisi, Bruce Springsteen

Henry is a regular guest fellow and masterclass instructor at: Boston’s Berklee School of Music; Massachusettes CODARTS, Rotterdam, Netherlands; and
Columbia College of Chicago

Cory Henry plys his Hammond Organ as conductor Jules Buckley waives his baton.

Cory Henry performs Prince’s “Purple Rain” with the Metropole Orchestra and Jules Buckley conductor, in July 2017 at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo courtesy North Sea Jazz)

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