Henry Brun & The Latin Playerz
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Henry Brun & The Latin Playerz

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Jazz master Duke Ellington is remembered in this 14-track CD by percussionist Henry Brun. The list of special guests includes top influential players such as Justo Almario, Spot Barnett, John Mills, Philippe Vieux, George Prado, Gabe Pintor and Judi Deleon. All the tracks were arranged by Henry Brun, Travis Davis, and Rafael Petiton. Brun considers Ellington one of his most fundamental influences, “a man whose body of work guided me through my ABC’s in Jazz.” The tracks are easy-going, free-flowing reflective pieces. While Brun remains true to the Duke’s original versions, he gives the tunes an interesting reading, and thanks, perhaps to his percussions, gives them a slight Latino tinge. Stand out tracks include the piano-led “C Jam Blues”, the snappy “In A mellow Tone,” the robust classic “It Don’t Mean A Thing If Ain’t Got That Swing,” and the exquisitely haunting “Fleurette Africaine (African Flower),” These tunes are ideal for listening in low-lit clubs, backyard patios by a setting sun, or other places where one can bask in solitude and reflection. The musicianship is impeccable, the fidelity sonically beautiful. No surprise, given the A-list roster of studio musicians including musical director Adrian Ruiz, lead trumpeter Ed Sherry, drummer Mike Koenning, double bassist Billy Satterwhite and percussionist Rene Gonzalez. A keeper for lovers of classic Jazz.

- by Ramiro Burr, award-winning music writer, syndicated columnist and book author


Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz play high-energy Latin jazz. Led by percussionist Brun, the band, staffed by some of the best musicians on the I-35 corridor, has chops and imagination.

For its latest CD, “Rhythms and Reeds ... A Tribute to the Master Duke Ellington” (Pulsar Records), the Playerz and special guests went in a different direction. The crew dived into the Ellington book to come up with a 14-track collection, mostly Ellington standards, that deftly combine Latin and Ellington-style straight-up jazz. With reed men including Spot Barnett, Justo Almario, Dr. John Mills, Philippe Vieux and the Playerz's Gabe Pintor taking solos, the songs flat cook.

“It's not a Latin album per se, but it has Latin instrumentation,” Brun said. “When you listen to Ellington's music, he was classified as jazz, but he was really America's first crossover artist. His music has been a guide to me in many ways. He was unafraid to take chances.”

The Playerz will celebrate the release of “Rhythms and Reeds” Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway. There'll be two sets, the first featuring the band's regular repertoire, the second the entire “Rhythms and Reeds” featuring Mills, Vieux, Pintor and vocalist Judi Deleon. Both sets will be recorded to air on radio station KRTU.
- Jim Beal Jr. - San Antonio Express News


Even though the Witte Museum’s webpage simply announces this concert as the latest part of their Sunday Jazz series, this one is special: Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz, San Antonio’s premier Latin Jazz ensemble, have a brand new album. Rhythms and Reeds: A Tribute to the Master Duke Ellington is the orchestra’s most ambitious, and it was recorded by five of the 11 members (guest saxophonist Justo Almario won’t be at the Witte). The orchestra will play the usual mix of Latin Jazz, Salsa, Merengue and Bachata (the sophisticated, not the crappy type), but also “most of the songs from the new album,” Brun told the Current Magazine via phone from New York.

Brun, a Bronx-born Nuyorican, is a percussionist who’s played with virtually anybody who is somebody in the world of Afro-Cuban music, but he’s also a walking encyclopedia of the genre and host of Ritmos del Mundo on KSTX 89.1 FM (Saturdays from 10:00 pm to midnight). Bring your chair or picnic blanket and enjoy. Don’t take ‘em for granted because they live here: the Playerz are for real. $8 (Witte members free) 4-7 pm, Sunday, October 11th, Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway, (210) 357-1910, wittemuseum.org
- Enrique Loeptegui, San Antonio Current Magazine


Discography

"Under the Influence" – 1992
“Música San Antonio” – 1994 Compilation
“Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2001 Compilation
“Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2002 Compilation
“Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2003 Compilation
“Spiritual Awakenings” - 2004
“Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2004 Compilation
“Don’t Mess with La Música de Tejas” – 2004 Compilation
“Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2005 Compilation
“Manu Is On His Way” - 2005
“Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2006 Compilation
“Judi Deleón” - 2006
“Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2007 Compilation
“San Antonio Jazz” – 2007 Compilation
“Viva Fiesta San Antonio” – 2008 Compilation
“A Very Latin Christmas” – 2008
“Christmas San Antonio” 2008
"Rhythms & Reeds - A Tribute to the Master Duke Ellington" – 2009

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Bio

Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz - Awaken HAVE NO FEAR! Percussionist, Henry Brun is not an especially big guy, but just being around him you can feel his energy, courage and palpable enthusiasm. Brun's approach to life and music has always been the same, urgent and intense. "Spiritual Awakenings", a recording by Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz which was nominated for multiple awards, truly demonstrates why they've thrilled crowds across the country and have been perennial poll winners throughout the Southwest for the better part of twenty years. One of the most impressive things about the Playerz is that they can tackle anything, from inventive arrangements of straight-ahead Jazz Classics to the hippest sounding original compositions!

Henry Brun has been called many things, some of which are unfit to print here. But most of all, he gets the first call to play for almost every major recording session and international touring artist that comes through San Antonio and the Southwest. "Mr. Ritmo", as he is known to many, has built his credentials and musical reputation by working hard, playing hard and by being completely committed to musical integrity, excellence and creativity. On that, he's as solid as the calluses on his hard hitting hands!

Henry Brun isn't afraid of anything - most of all, he isn't afraid of taking musical chances. And that's what he's done on "Spiritual Awakenings". After all, experimentation, innovation and improvisation are the creative cornerstones of Jazz! There is absolutely no doubt that this musical adventure could only have come from a transplanted Puerto Rican in San Antonio, Texas! Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz will inspire you to "awaken" your musical senses!

For more information on Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz, visit www.richportenterprises.com or call 210-733-3806.