Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz
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Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz

San Antonio, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1990 | INDIE | AFM

San Antonio, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 1990
Band Jazz Latin


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Henry Brun gets Latin Playerz back to their roots on new album"

It’s a groove thing.

That’s not exactly a shocker when it comes to a new album from Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz. After all, it’s salsa and Latin jazz.

But Brun was going for something more with “In Ritmo We Trust.”

“I wanted to go back to the basics, back to our roots,” said Brun for the group’s 25th anniversary effort.

Such a quest brought Brun to record producer Joe Treviño’s Blue Cat Studio in Southtown, a place known as a Tex-Mex rock ’n’ roll, conjunto and Tejano music crossroads, where the percussionist had done session work but never an entire project.

The recording sessions began in earnest in July.

“I really wanted to go in there and for the band to get to show off its maturity and finesse,” Brun explained.

The result is some silky Latin big-band horn sounds, mysterious intros, gentler grooves (as well as Fania All Stars fire) and jazzier moments, too. Not to mention that legendary “Little Joe” Hernandez makes a guest appearance, singing lead on the romantic ballad “Y.”

More Information

In concert

Who: Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Alamo Beer Co., 202 Lamar St.

Admission: $20-$50 at artssa.org

Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz celebrate Sunday with a CD release party at the beer garden at Alamo Beer Co., 202 Lamar St.

“It’s a monster horn section,” said Treviño, who engineered and mixed the record, about the 14-man group. Of course, Treviño is all about recording live “on the wood.” He felt that had been missing from Brun’s previous efforts.

“We went for some live grooves,” said Treviño, who has worked with Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, Raul Malo, Max Baca & Los TexManiacs, Rita Vidaurri, the West Side Horns, Michael Martin and Juan Tejeda.

But there’s an elegance to the song selection and performances. Brun avoided the hyper, in-your-face cliché approach to salsa.

Brun’s wife, Judi Deleon, sings lead on “Summertime.” Pete Rodriguez sings lead on “Con Mi Ritmo” and “La Pelota.”

“We turned the project around in about five weeks,” Brun said. “I’ve always had a thematic approach but with one I just wanted to present the band where it is today, its sound, its identity. It’s come full circle.”

The record begins with “Amanecer,” a track written by José Gallardo for Ramón Mongo Santamaría, the Cuban-born composer, rumba musician and Afro-Cuban percussionist who wrote the late ’50s standard “Afro Blue.”

Santamaría’s 1963 hit version of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” is essential listening. Gallardo, a member of Santamaría’s band (and before that, the Latinaires with Little Joe) explores the gentler side of the groove on “Amanecer.”

Jazz trumpeter and educator Adrian Ruiz, a former musical director for the Latin Playerz, says Bronx-born Brun’s passion and influences is the unifying thread.

“I branched out into salsa and Latin jazz through Henry,” said Ruiz, who teaches at St. Mary’s University and the University of Texas at San Antonio and leads the Adrian Ruiz Quintet.

KRTU-FM program director JJ Lopez praised the Playerz’s longevity, musical dynamics and Brun’s flair.

“Henry’s a Bronx transplant and brought that kind of (New York) Latin jazz sound,” Lopez said. “He’s a great bandleader, a great entertainer and good businessman.”

Sunday’s ARTS San Antonio outdoor event is purposely down-home. The rustic setting is a far cry from the Latin Playerz’s past gigs at the Empire Theatre.

“Not every fan likes to dress up in a coat and tie and go to the theater,” Brun said. “I wanted to make sure that this one here, celebrating the milestone, was done in the same fashion as in the beginning, just relaxed. People can bring their kids and let ‘em run around and have a great time.”

hsaldana@express-news.net - San Antonio Express News

"Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz 25th Anniversary"

Henry Brun and the Latin Playerz Orchestra 25th Anniversary
When: Sun., Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. 2015
Phone: 210-226-2891
Email: info@artssa.org
Price: $20-$50

Born in the Bronx, raised in Puerto Rico and based out of San Antonio, conga player Henry Brun has spent his life exploring different avenues of the Afro-Latin tradition. On his 25th anniversary album with the Latin Playerz, In Ritmo We Trust, Brun puts it all together with a thrilling command of the clave beat. For his silver anniversary, Brun invited an incredible cast to the party. His usual Playerz, like trumpeter/musical director Rudy Estrada and pianist Travis Davis, show up with bright style and a vibrant tone. Throughout the album, Davis is a monster, trading off between the soul-jazz onda of Horace Silver and the incantational salsa of Eddie Palmieri. But the special guests on the album make the party stand out as one of San Antonio’s best of the year. With Brun churning away in the rhythm section, vibraphonist Joe Caploe, trumpeter Pete Rodríguez, guitarist Joe Reyes and San Anto horn legend Spot Barnett all pitch into the rhythm. Even Tejano legend Little Joe gets in on the bash, purring over the slow-cooked “Y.”

Alamo Brewery
202 Lamar St. East

Tags: Live Music, Staff Pick - San Antonio Current Magazine



1.     "Under the Influence" – 1992

2.     “Música San Antonio” – 1994 Compilation

3.     “Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2001 Compilation

4.     “Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2002 Compilation

5.     “Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2003 Compilation

6.     “Spiritual Awakenings” - 2004

7.     “Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2004 Compilation

8.     “Don’t Mess with La Música de Tejas” – 2004 Compilation

9.     “Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2005 Compilation

10.    “Manu Is On His Way” - 2005

11.    “Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2006 Compilation

12.    “Judi Deleón” - 2006

13.    “Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2007 Compilation

14.    “San Antonio Jazz” – 2007 Compilation

15.    “San Antonio Christmas” – 2007 Compilation

16.    “A Passion for Music – The LP Holiday CD, Vol. 7 – 2007 Compilation

17.    “Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2008 Compilation

18.    “Totally San Antonio” – 2008 Compilation

19.    “Latin Playerz Christmas Sampler” – 2008

20.    "Rhythms & Reeds - A Tribute to the Master Duke Ellington" – 2009

21.    “20th Anniversary” – 2010

22.    “50th Annual Texas Jazz Festival” – 2010

23.    “A Very Latin Christmas” – 2011

24.    “A Passion for Music – The LP Holiday CD, Vol. 9” – 2011 Compilation

25.    “Soul Tren Latino… Barrio Music from the Latin Playerz” - 2014

26.    Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz 25 Years of Latin Jazz: In Ritmo We Trust - 2015


Feeling a bit camera shy



Conga dynamo Henry Brun, “Mr. Ritmo” to his fans, is hailed as one of the most talented and hardest working professional musicians and band leaders in the Southwestern U.S.  His motto, appropriately, is “Work hard, play hard, and always find joy in what you are doing.”

Born in the Bronx, New York, Henry first played congas at age seven.  At the age of 8, his family moved to Puerto Rico where Henry began studies at the Juan Morel Campos Escuela Libre De Música in Ponce.  In 1974, he performed his first professional engagement with the popular Latin pop group, Danny Cruz.  Brun continued studies under pianist-composer Eduardo Flores Mattei. Henry’s expertise includes congas, bongos, timbales and the ethnic percussion instruments of Africa, Brazil and the Middle East.

Brun has performed on more than 730 recordings, including numerous Grammy-winning and gold / platinum-award winning albums.  He performed in the BET Network’s Jazz Central, Televisa’s Raza de Campeones and in the BBC documentary Texas Saturday Night.

In 1989, Henry Brun formed The Latin Playerz, a popular group noted for its blend of Latin, Rhythm and Blues, Swing and straight-ahead Jazz.  The Latin Playerz easily adapts to a variety of performing venues without compromising its high artistic and musical standards.  The group regularly performs throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Cuba’s Festival Internacional Del Caribe, the Heineken Jazz Festival in Puerto Rico, Festival International De Jazz in Mexico, the Houston International Jazz Festival, Jazz a Vienne in France, Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Taichung International Jazz Festival and Kaohsiung Zuoying Wannian Folklore Festival of Taiwan.

The Latin Playerz are three-time winners of Univision’s annual “Latin Jazz Band of the Year” Premios a La Música Latina.  The Playerz’ album Rhythms and Reeds… A Tribute to the Master Duke Ellington was named one of the top Latin Jazz releases of 2009.  New York’s The Latin Jazz Corner nominated Henry Brun as one of the best Latin Jazz percussionists of 2010 and named his arrangement of “Upper Manhattan Medical Group” one of the best Latin Jazz arrangements of 2010.

Brun’s professional discipline and dedication to musical excellence has earned him the opportunity to tour and record with such artists as Arturo Sandoval, Justo Almario, Charo, Los Lobos, Texas Tornados, Little Joe y La Familia and Los Super Seven.  Brun is a committed and active educator and clinician.

Band Members