A Nuyorican Tale
Release date: September 15, 2023

A Nuyorican Tale is rooted in Nuyorican culture, and shines a light on the complex history of Puerto Ricans in New York City. Joining Henriquez on this important new work is vocalist and flutist Jeremy Bosch, trumpeters Mike Rodriguez and Terrell Stafford, trombonist Marshall Gilkes, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, pianist Robert Rodriguez, percussionist Anthony Almonte, and drummer Obed Calvaire. A Nuyorican Tale releases independently on September 15, 2023. 

Over the past two decades, Carlos Henriquez’s star has steadily risen, bolstered by his tenure as the bassist of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Born in the South Bronx, much of Henriquez’s solo work is informed by his Puerto Rican heritage. Using his unique platform as the anchor of the world’s pre-eminent jazz orchestra, Henriquez has successfully shared the stories of the Puerto Rican people through music: notably, on his GRAMMY nominated album The South Bronx Story, and through various commissions that have been performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center. On A Nuyorican Tale, Henriquez presents a collection of urban Latin jazz tales that speaks to the complex Puerto Rican and Nuyorican conundrum in New York City. While The South Bronx Story focused on the bassist’s own personal history and experience, A Nuyorican Tale shifts attention to the overall Nuyorican experience, specifically those families who migrated to New York City and the South Bronx from Puerto Rico. Over the course of 9 tracks, Henriquez offers an insightful and educational history lesson - one that tells of the racial tension and hard-won battles that galvanized the community’s historical path, and defined the Puerto Rican cultural experience. 

Connection to the ancestors is a major tenant of A Nuyorican Tale, and a driving force behind the bassist’s latest work. Henriquez told journalist Ed Morales in a recent article in the New York Times:  

“I’m working on my next album and I realize we’re right in the middle of this neighborhood that used to be called San Juan Hill. And then I find out, we used to live here, with African Americans, and Benny Carter wrote a suite called Echoes of San Juan Hill, and Thelonious Monk used to play here. I came to realize how valuable this neighborhood was, and I found this out because I was yearning to find my connection to jazz.” 

San Juan Hill was a neighborhood in Manhattan bound between 59th and 65th streets, from Amsterdam to West End Avenue. It was a major population hub for African American, Afro-Caribbean and Puerto Rican people, before its demolition in the mid-20th century due to urban renewal. Thousands of families were displaced in order to build one of the most famous cultural institutions in the world: Lincoln Center. This history, coupled with the opening of the new David Geffen Hall last year, inspired A Nuyorican Tale. “This album is all about San Juan Hill, what happened there, and how it influenced generations of Puerto Ricans,” he says. 

Highlights include the opener “Nuyorican Souls”, a favorite of Henriquez that discusses Puerto Ricans as an unseen child. “Puerto Ricans are often the ones added for flavor, but credit is rarely given. The song addresses this. When you listen, it carries words about Puerto-Nuyoricans, our coolness, and the rhythms we bring. It's a song where I express my opinion on being a Nuyorican in New York City and the South Bronx.” The next track, “Bodegas Groove” discusses the bodega delis Henriquez grew up around, and the vibe the owners of these establishments would bring. “They treated families well and made the neighborhood feel cool,” he says. This tasty cha-cha features a particularly soulful Henriquez-solo on double bass and a soaring solo from trumpeter Terrel Stafford. On “Afro-Monk” listeners are treated to a perfect combination of American jazz with an Afro-Cuban touch in 6/8 where Henriquez's compositional talent shines, and pays respect to Thelonius Monk. At the same time he presents a masterful bass solo where he demonstrates how both worlds coexist.

 “Robert’s Red Line” is one of the richest tracks on the album, as it tells the story of the issues New York City faced when urban planner Robert Moses changed Lincoln Square. “It's based on a true story about New York City's redlining and how the government labeled San Juan Hill a slum. They drew a line around it, making it difficult for people in the neighborhood to get loans and move out. The song talks about how the neighborhood was destroyed, and how being of dark colors meant being destined to fail. It delves into the controversial issue of how San Juan Hill and Lincoln Center persisted for years without addressing or confronting it,” says Henriquez.

“After you listen to these Latin-Jazz interpretations of the stories that I feel are the pinnacle and representation of my life, you, too, will get a sense of the importance of my people and their culture and what they’ve provided via their stories and music to our city,” reflects Henriquez. 

A Nuyorican Tale is more than just music. It is a three-dimensional acknowledgment of souls from Africa, and our native Taino family all blended as one. When you combine these, you experience a Nuyorican: one who carries the torch and bears the rhythmic souls of our ancestors.”

The South Bronx Story
Release date: August 27, 2021
Label: Tiger Turn

“The most important Latin jazz artist in New York City today, the heir to the legacy of Tito Puente,” - New York Latin Culture

The South Bronx Story is a bold multi-movement work by celebrated bassist and composer Carlos Henriquez. This career-defining release is a retrospective of the social history of the South Bronx, and draws from Henriquez’s personal Puerto Rican heritage. For the occasion Henriquez has enlisted an elite ensemble of musicians for the date in trombonist Marshall Gilkes, saxophonist Melissa Aldana, pianist Robert Rodriguez, drummer Obed Calvaire, trumpeters Michael Rodriguez and Terrell Stafford, and percussionist Anthony Almonte as well as the multifaceted Jeremy Bosch on flutes and vocals.

Carlos Henquriez is one of the preeminent bassists of his generation. A member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for over two decades, Henriquez is one of the first truly bilingual musicians, in that he is a master of both jazz and Afro-Latin traditions. His upbringing in the South Bronx, a rich musical hub that boasts local legends such as Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, played a major role in the virtuoso’s musical and personal development. On The South Bronx Story, which is Henriquez’s third release as a leader and a follow up to his 2018 tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, Dizzy Con Clave, the bassist and composer takes listeners on a wide-ranging musical journey through his stomping grounds. This project first premiered in 2018 at Jazz at Lincoln Center to wide acclaim. 

“[On The South Bronx Story], I am using my music, experience, and heritage as a Puerto Rican growing up in the Bronx to tell a story that looks back and forward,” says Henriquez. “Jazz is American, born out of the melting pot of our Afro-American experience. And in the American spirit, jazz has adapted with different cultures, cities, people, and places and become an expression of one’s identity. This project represents just that–the tragedy, violence, and history isn’t over, but there is hope in the future. Music, dance, and the arts can bring that all together and transcend to showcase a common humanity.”

On The South Bronx Story, Henriquez takes inspiration from personal experience and history. Movements like “Soy Humano” (I Am Human) speaks to the obstacles Henriquez and family faced dealing with the housing system and financial turmoils growing up, while “Guajeo De Papi” is a testament to fatherhood in honor of his father, Jorge Henriquez, who provided for his family even during tough times. “My dad is loved by many and a pure example of how a man can be defined. I am so proud of him and truly honored to have written this tune for him,” Henriquez shares. Another standout, the salsa-tinged “Hydrants Love All”, was written with Henriquez’s brother in mind, and the summer days they shared together playing amongst the fire hydrants on the hot Bronx streets.  

Other tracks ingeniously reference significant people as well as events that created the diverse culture of New York’s South Bronx. Movements include “Black Benji,” a piece inspired by Cornell Benjamin, who is credited for promoting peace among the gangs in the Bronx; “Mama Lorraine” about the life and work of activist Lorraine Montenegro who, along with Evelin Lopez Antonetty, founded the United Bronx Parents but tragically died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria; “Borough of Fire” for the devastating burnings of low income buildings during the 1970s; and “Moses and the Cross” about the divisive legacy of Robert Moses and the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway.

The album features many moments of inspired soloing. On “Black Benji,” Melissa Aldana gets plenty of room to stretch, showing absolute command of the horn. Marshall Gilkes and Terell Stafford trade colorful phrases over the form in “Guajeo de Papi”, while Michael Rodriguez spins many beautiful lines with a gorgeous Flugelhorn tone on “Mama Lorraine”. Throughout, the versatile Jeremy Bosch (widely known as one of the lead singers in the GRAMMY winning ensemble Spanish Harlem Orchestra) pivots between burning on the flute and singing; particularly his soneo on the mambo section of “Moses on the Cross” recalls the great singers of the Fania era. 

This seamless blend of lineages into a cohesive whole underscores the massive impact of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the music and culture of the borough, reminding listeners that Latino culture cannot possibly be separated from New York culture, and Bronx culture cannot be separated from Jazz. “Being a born breaded Bronxnite, I have seen first hand the values and instincts which allowed me to understand the family of my community. Integration, which was the key growing up for me, was a cultural aspect that made me appreciate those I grew up playing with. As we listen to the different songs on this project you will see how influential the streets have proven to be for me.”

For: A Nuyorican Tale

JON D'AAURIA
BASS MAGAZINE
"Using his unique platform as the anchor of the world’s pre-eminent jazz orchestra, Henriquez has successfully shared the stories of the Puerto Rican people through music: notably, on his GRAMMY nominated album The South Bronx Story, and through various commissions that have been performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center."  Check out the full article here.

RAUL AMADOUR
BASS MUSICIAN
"Connection to the ancestors is a major tenant of A Nuyorican Tale, and a driving force behind the bassist’s latest work."  Check out the full article here.

PATRICA ALOY
VENEZUELA SINFONICA
Check out the full review in Spanish here.

JIM HYNES
MAKING A SCENE 
"The opener, “Nuyorican Souls,” featuring vocals from Bosch, known widely as one of the lead singers in the GRAMMY winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, speaks to the oft neglected cultural values that Puerto Ricans have infused in the city with poignant solos from the trumpeters, Aldana, and Rodriquez with Bosch adding his flute to the ending choruses. "Check out the full review in Spanish here.

KEVIN JOHNSON
NO TREBLE
"Each song tells a story, from the opener “Nuyorican Souls” to “Robert’s Red Line.” The track “Bodegas Groove” sets a mellow tempo to embody the welcoming vibes from owners of neighborhood delis."  Check out the full article here.

ROBIN JAMES
MINNISOTA SPOKESMAN - RECORDER
"...Carlos Henriquez independently released “A Nuyorican Tale” on September 15. This is his fourth album as a bandleader." Check out this feature here.

ALEX DUTILH
RADIO FRANCE
Check out the full article in French here.

VICENTE TOLEDO ROHENA
NATIONAL FOUNDATION OF POPULAR CULTUR
Check out the full article in Spanish here.

MARK LOMANNO
THE RHYTHM OF STUDY
"He’s the perfect musician to address the complicated history between San Juan Hill and Lincoln Center, which is central to the album’s concept." Check out the full feature here.

GARY WALKER
WBGO
"Following in the footsteps of his Grammy-nominated 2021 album, The South Bronx StoryA Nuyorican Tale is an insightful and grooving history lesson..."  Check out the full article here.

DANILO NAVAS
LATIN JAZZ NET
Check out this feature on the editors playlist here.

RUSSELL PERRY
WTGU
"Great band, swinging tunes."  Check out the full article here.

RAUL DA GAMA
LATIN JAZZ NET
"Throughout the music of this album Mr Henriquez’s performance is never less than richly experienced and “musicianly”. " Check out the full article here.

EDITOR
SOLAR LATIN CLUB
Check out this review in Spanish here.

ILIANA CABRERA
WORLD MUSICAL CENTER 
"A Nuyorican Tale is more than just music; it’s a three-dimensional homage to the diverse puertorriqueño communities with African, Spanish, and Native Taino roots that have merged into the vibrant Nuyorican culture." You can check out the full review here.

EDITOR
DISTRITO JAZZ
Check out the full review in Spanish here.

WILBERT SOSTRE MALDONADO
90 GRADOS
" An intimate work and at the same time a tribute to his roots and his ancestors." Check out the full article here.

JAIME TORRES TORRES
PRENSA SIN CENSURA 
"It is the jazzy and guarachero portrait of his heritage as a Nuyorrican in the Iron Babel. " Check this feature in Spanish here.

For: The South Bronx Story

LA FUNDACIÓN NACIONAL PARA LA CULTURA
EL NUEVO DÍA
"El bajista y compositor Carlos Henriquez utilizó muy bien la conexión de sus raíces boricuas en este trabajo ejemplar."  Lea este articulo aquí.

 

RAUL DA GAMA
LATIN JAZZ  NETWORK
"But this is Mr Henriquez’s album; one on which he outdoes himself, as he imbues this music with very special meaning and grace." Read this review here.

 

 

NATE CHINEN
WBGO

"Anyone in the greater orbit of Jazz at Lincoln Center has long understood the depth of authority and feeling that Carlos Henriquez brings to his role as a bassist." Read the feature and listen to the title track premiere on WBGO here.

JOSÉ RAMÓN
LA HABITACIÓN DEL JAZZ
"Este “The South Bronx Story” incluye canciones con diversos ritmos que permiten a los integrantes del grupo, mostrar sus facultades. Intérpretes que demuestran su empatía con estas composiciones de Henriquez."  Para leer esta reseña presione aquí.

VICENTE TOLEDO
LA FUNDACIÓN NACIONAL PARA LA CULTURA
Tras un minucioso escrutinio que incluye análisis de interpretación, ejecución musical, labor técnica, concepto y empaque, la Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular presenta la selección de las 20 producciones más sobresalientes de 2021. Lea este articulo aquí.

 

DEE DEE MCNEIL
MUSICAL MEMOIRS
"Although rooted in social issues, Carlos Henriquez’s music absolutely makes you want to dance, to sing, to hope and to leave your troubles on the doorstep." Read the full review here.

ARTURO GOMEZ
KUVO

Read the album announcement here.

BRIAN MORTON
DOWNBEAT
"FOUR STARS. Walk these streets with Henriquez and his crew. It’s a trip." Review here

ROBIN HILTON
NPR
One of the notable releases for August 27, selected by NPR Music. See here

JIM HYNES
MAKING A SCENE!

"This outstanding project reflects the importance of Puerto Rican and the Bronx on the jazz and culture of NYC in general, shedding light on the area oft overshadowed by Harlem in projects of this type. Yet, we can’t help but notice the title’s resemblance to the musical West Side Story, which was a 1950s look at Puerto Rican gang life. This project will never reach that one’s lofty stature but is more comprehensive in terms of the Puerto Rican diaspora, teeming with outstanding compositions and astute musicianship throughout." Read this review here.

 

MITCH JOEL
NO TREBLE
Listen to the podcast interview here.

HECTOR AVILES
LATINO MUSIC CAFE
"I believe every Jazz and certainly every Latin Jazz fan will enjoy this recording!" Read the review here.

KARMINA FONSECA
EL CORREO

Read the full interview in Spanish here.

RAUL DA GAMA
LATIN JAZZ NETWORK
"this is Mr Henriquez’s album; one on which he outdoes himself, as he imbues this music with very special meaning and grace." Review here

BASS MUSICIAN
BASS MUSICIAN MAGAZINE

Read the album announcement here.

CHRIS SPECTOR
MIDWEST RECORD
"A Latin jazz date brimming with pride that he can be really proud of." Read the full review here.

JOHN CHACONA
LET'S CALL THIS

"In its cinematic sweep, ear for the telling detail and vast affection for its subject, this recording is Henriquez’s Tone Parallel to The Bronx." Read this review here.

TED PANKEN
JAZZIZ
"Perhaps the most demanding function in today’s jazz ecosystem is the bass chair in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which Carlos Henriquez assumed in 2002, when he was 22." Read the full feature here.

FRANCE MUSIQUE STAFF
FRANCE MUSIQUE
Read the full album announcement in French here.

RALPH MIRIELLO
NOTES ON JAZZ
Listed on the Best of Jazz 2021 article here.

MIKE JURKOVIC
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Listed on Mike Jurkovic's Best Recordings of 2021 list here.

MATT SILVER
WRTI
"This is simply an outstanding band and record." Read the complete review here.

NEWS
SOLAR LATIN CLUB
Article in Spanish here.

TOM HENRY
TOLEDO BLADE
"It’s a beautiful and bold collection of all-original songs which pay tribute to New York’s vibrant Puerto Rican musical influences." Review here.

NATE CHINEN
NPR
Listed on Notable Releases for August 27 list here.

NEWS
CANCION A QUEMARROPA
Read about The South Bronx Story's GRAMMY® Nomination in Spanish here.

MATT MICUCCI
JAZZIZ
Read the album announcement in The Week in Jazz here.