Bruce A. Henry
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Bruce A. Henry

Bolingbrook, Illinois, United States | SELF | AFTRA

Bolingbrook, Illinois, United States | SELF | AFTRA
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"Summoning The High Spirit"

We can’t turn away when Bruce is on stage. His presence is simultaneously commanding and approachable. His joy is contagious. He nearly overpowers with emotion, leaving one breathless but still standing. When he improvises it’s as if creating a ceremonial chant from ancient fragments. His voice is his horn, and he can swing like Goodman, spin and spiral like Parker, or levitate like Coltrane. - JazzInk


"All About Jazz"

Back in this fan's formative listening years, the record racks had a section that carried the label “Rhythm & Blues.” There you'd find everything from early Motown--Smoky Robinson and the Marvelettes, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Marvin and Tammi, the Temptations and the Supremes; and from other labels specializing in “soul sounds”: Gene McDaniels, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Ray Charles...
I mention this bit of history because vocalist Bruce A. Henry sounds very much like a forward extension of that tradition, a carrying on of the things Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield were doing as the decade of the sixties drew to a close, bringing in a jazz spirit and an uplifting Afro-Centrism into a soul/blues/jazz mix.
And that is a very good thing.
Henry's Connections opens with the soaring Gill Scott Heron/John Coltrane anthem ”Equinox,” pared down Coltrane Style--bass, drums piano, sax; then it rolls into a Langston Hughes poem, proud and unstoppably dignified, with music supplied by Henry: “Darker Brother/I Too Sing America.” In between lies Freddie Hubbard's “Red Clay,” and further on you'll find perhaps the highlight, a linked trio of Mongo Santamaria's “Afro Blue” and the Henry-penned “Africa Cries Prelude” and “Africa Cries.”
Henry's one and a half octave vocal range delves into a rich baritone on his haunting original, ”Moon,” and rises elsewhere to a creamy Bobby Blue Bland delivery--I'm truly reminded of Bobby Blue on “Red Clay” and “House of the Rising Sun.” A set that includes the occasional horn section, lady background vocals, infectious grooves--a cooking version of Earth Wind and Fire's “Mighty, Mighty”-- the bouncing percolation of “Afro Blue,” the solemn, spiritual reverence of “Africa Cries,” all this makes Connections an outstanding and original vocal effort, produced to near perfection.
- Dan McClenaghan


"Jazz-Not-Jazz"

“This singer certainly has that special something. Bruce A. Henry has this magic in his voice and singing that makes each of his songs special . . . a great diverse album every discerning jazz fan should own.”

- Jazz-Not-Jazz, Germany


"Artist Quarter"

Bruce Henry's deep and eclectic jazz vocals have been heard throughout the world to glowing reviews and converted audiences. With a voice that is truly an instrument, Bruce brings a world music approach to his art, discovering new layers of spirit in his interpretations of compositions ranging from the Freddie Hubbard/Mark Murphy penned "Red Clay" to Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Sound of Music."
- Artist Quarter


"Bebopified"

For his final song, we wonder if we’ll hear “Nature Boy” or “The House of the Rising Sun,” two famous tunes Henry has made his own and each one a showstopper. Instead, we hear a song he has promised to someone in the audience: “The Second Time Around.” Accompanied by saxophone, it’s gorgeous, a singer’s song, with low, deep notes and caressing vibrato. Is it for his wife? It feels very private in a room packed with people who are hushed and listening hard.
- Bebopified


"WCLK Atlanta"

Accolades from various sources
- - Kari Gaffney


"Jazz Police"

More Horace Silver, this time “All,” a song Henry got from Dean Brewington, “the first person I met in the state of Minnesota.” The lyrics (also by Silver) seem especially appropriate for Henry: “All time is now/all space is near/all minds relate/all souls evolve...all things are spirit/all is in mind.” His performances are engaging and entertaining, but they’re also deeply spiritual if you’re willing to let that part reach out and touch you. - Pamela Espeland


Discography

Solstice -1978
One Living Soul -1995
Songs of Inspiration - 2000
Connections - 2004
Live at The Dakota - Coming soon

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Bio


Performed Cuban National Theater, Havana, Cuba -2013
Performed Hopkins Center of The Arts Tribute to Marvin Gaye Hopkins, Minnesota -2012
Performed Olympia Garden Theater, Toronto, Canada - 2010
Performed Ravina Lawndale Jazz Festival, Chicago, Illinois 2010
Opened for Ramsey Lewis, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis - 2009
Performed Soul of Gershwin, Parker Playhouse, Ft. Lauderdale 2008
Performed The Artist Quarter, St. Paul, MN - 2008
Performed The Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis - 2008
Composer for The Twin Cities Women’s Chorus - 2008
Opened for Chris Botti Orpheum Theater, Minneapolis - 2006
Founder and Creative Director for The Freedom Train Ensemble - 2005
Orchestra performance with Doc Severinsen and The Minnesota Orchestra - 2005
Hot Summer Jazz Fest, Minneapolis - 2005
Opened for Roberta Flack Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis - 2004
Composer Steppingstone Theater, Right Place Wrong Time - 2003
Performed vocals for Disney’s Lost River soundtrack -2002
Performed with Dennis DiBlasio - 2003
Composition project with Bobby McFerrin - 2001
Klezmer Music Festival Zafed, Israel - 2000
Music Director African Amercan Cultural Center - 1979-1982
Performed Le Bilboquet, Paris France -1997

Born in West Point, Mississippi, home of Howling Wolf, Bruce A. Henry was singing publicly by the age of 5 in his Baptist church on the West side of Chicago. His passion for an ever-expanding vision, both musically and personally, is at the heart of every performance. Bruce has performed on 5 continents as well as nationally – from small intimate venues to major concert halls.

Vocalist/educator/composer Bruce A. Henry has been heard on a Worldwide Radio Live Concert on the B.B.C. as well as notable movie soundtracks. Henry has performed at such exotic and legendary stages as the National Theater of Cuba, Malate concert in Manila, the Klezmer Festival in Israel, Le Bilboquet in Paris, The WhitBread in London, the Coconut Grove in Miami, the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and the Grand Wailea in Maui.

Bruce’s compositions have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, The Twin Cities Women’s Chorus and in the HBO film Laurel Avenue. Despite his frenetic performing and travel schedule, Henry is a committed educator whose “Evolution of African American Music” workshop is an inspirational presentation indeed.

Band Members