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Henry’s Easter surprise

KEYS: Ashley Henry

BRITISH PIANIST Ashley Henry makes his major label debut with the release of the ‘Easter’ EP on January 19. Drawing from jazz, hip-hop, R&B and punk, the six-track selection is an imaginative project that boldly explores new musical territory, marking Henry out as an important new voice on the UK scene.

Born and raised in South London, Henry graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2016 and has gone on to perform and
collaborate with the likes of Jason Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and Jean Toussaint. Within the ‘Easter’ EP, audio and visual style
touchpoints include influences from Abdullah Ibrahim, Ahmad Jamal, Sinead Harnett, Digital Underground, ZuZu and even Margot Fonteyn, Era Istrefi , Freddie Mercury and Dreezy.

Henry is also influenced by his Jamaican heritage, and in particular the wave of Caribbean jazz musicians from the 1950s including the likes of Joe Harriott, Harold McNair, Dizzy Reece, Harry Beckett and Wilton Gaynair, who arrived in Britain during the jazz boom of the late post-war period.

Despite this eclectic range of international influences, Henry’s sound remains distinctively British. He said: “I just want to be present with my music and the jazz form. I’m only at the start of my journey so I thought it was important to celebrate that fact.

“I wrote ‘Easter’ as the title track to celebrate what is to me in the funkiest first big holiday in my calendar. I just want people to enjoy the EP and look forward to my first album.”

As well as showcasing his compositional talents, the ‘Easter’ EP sees Henry tackle tracks by revered US rapper Nas and indie punk trio The Enemy. Alongside his regular drummer Eddie Hick and bassist Dan Casmir are collaborations with Luke Flowers (Cinematic Orchestra), UK-based US saxophonist Jean Toussaint, poet, author and professor Anthony Joseph and rising-star singer Cherise Adams-Burnett.

His first full studio album will be released in the spring.

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