Photos: Frank Stewart and Joe Martinez
Bassist Carlos Henriquez had just returned from Cleveland having worked with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra having performed Wynton Marsalis’s composition “Swing Symphony” when we talked.
A member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JALC) for the last 13 years, the Bronx native discussed his entry into the music genre. “My parents played music so it was a natural introduction for me. When I was young there were music programs for kids. It’s a shame there aren’t more of these types of programs in the school curriculum today. My parents were great and encouraged me. I was accepted into the Music Advancement Program at Juilliard, a program that helped me and gave lots of inner city kids an opportunity. Through their workshops and various programs, I began to see a future in music and met others who held the same ambitions in music as me. I started with guitar and became good at it. But then I fell in love with the bass. I learned the bass at Juilliard from my teacher John Schaeffer. Later other bassists took me under their wing and taught me even more,” remarked Henriquez, who performed with the likes of Latin greats such as Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and Celia Cruz since the age of 14.
Henriquez went on to explain about his relationship with Wynton Marsalis and his musical choices. “I had an in depth one-on-one classical teacher who taught me for 13 years before I began playing with Wynton and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. I am heavily into jazz, Afro Cuban and classical music. I love Brazilian music and listen to music from all over the world. However, at this time, I focus mostly on the genre of jazz and Afro Cuban jazz,” remarked the bassist.
“I met Wynton through a trumpeter friend named Steven. Steven invited me to a JALC orchestra rehearsal. I was playing acoustically but it blew my mind when I heard them playing music for Alvin Ailey. They were doing Sweet Release and Ghost Stories. I was hooked. Once I met Wynton I started hanging out with him and the orchestra. I went to their rehearsals and then Wynton started calling me to play gigs. I got to meet so many people like Shirley Horn, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder through a JALC collaboration. I owe Wynton a lot for helping me and making me part of the JALC Orchestra. He could have hired someone else with more experience but he helped me and I am so grateful to him. Wynton does a lot of good things. He helps promote young musicians. I was 17 when I met Wynton and he has given me several opportunities to grow. He asked me to be the music director when we went to Cuba in 2010. It was a great learning experience for Cuba, for me and JALC” recalled Carlos.
Bronx born, Mr. Henriquez will return to the Bronx on Saturday, September 12th at 8:00 pm as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s opening night and efforts to reach out to the boroughs. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will debut new compositions and arrangements by Carlos Henriquez as part of the veteran bassist’s return home to honor his musical roots. The orchestra will also be joined by special guests percussionists Bobby Allende and Marc Quiñones in honor of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 28th season. Entitled “Carlos Henriquez: Back in the Bronx,” Jazz at Lincoln Center will open their season at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Blvd West in the Bronx. Interested parties can purchase tickets via jazz.org or through CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, from 10am to 9pm. Tickets can also be purchased at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office, located on Broadway at 60th Street, on the ground floor, within the Time Warner Center Mall.
Carlos is about to release his first CD on September 18th, via the Blue Engine Records label entitled “The Bronx Pyramid” with the JALC Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis featuring the vocals of Ruben Blades on the tune “Descarga Entre Amigos.” The CD can be pre-ordered on Itunes and Amazon. For further information go to Blueengine.org, jazz.org and/or on Carlos Henriquez’s Facebook page.
“ My mother died 8 years ago. I lost her to cancer so this album is a tribute to her; therefore, I’m especially pleased the CD will be released on my mother’s birthday, September 18th. My dad is a hard worker and my brother, who is a great dancer, have been wonderful influences in my life. It took me a while to do my album. The 10 tunes on “The Bronx Pyramid” highlight my life experiences.
Wynton was instrumental in making me the poster child for the CD, “The Bronx Pyramid.” He graciously gave me the opportunity to do my music on the September 12th show at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts. Marsalis centered the show around me entitling it Carlos Henriquez Back in the Bronx featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis,” emphasized the bassist who promises Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 28th season opening at Lehman Center’s Bronx venue will be a night to remember.
For further info visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blakeradio/2015/08/31/topically-yours–bassist-carlos-henriquez-jazz-at-lincoln-center