DRUMMER AND BANDLEADER HENRY COLE RELEASES “EL DIABLO (ESPIRITU BURLON)”,
THE FIRST SONG FROM HIS NEW VILLA LOCURA PROJECT
Recorded at New York City’s famed Electric Lady Studios, EL Diablo (EspirItu Burlon)
features Cole’s 14 piece band of jazz and folkloric musicians with special guest
vocalist Tito Allen in a re-conception of “El Diablo”, a 1973 Ray Barretto classic.
NEW YORK CITY—Drummer Henry Cole, renowned for his powerful and inventive work with jazz luminaries such as Miguel Zenón, David Sánchez and Gary Burton, has released El Diablo (Espiritu Burlon), the first song from Simple, the long-awaited follow up his critically acclaimed 2012 debut as Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective, Roots Before Branches. The new song embraces Cole’s vision of 21st Century
Puerto Rican music, encompassing a wide range of global influences from folkloric rhythms to jazz, rock and funk.
Diablo was written by the iconic Puerto Rican songwriter Rafael Hernández nearly 80 years ago and was made famous by
legendary percussionist Ray Barretto on his 1973 Fania Records album Indestructible. Singer Tito Allen
was the lead singer in Barretto’s band at the time, and he repeats that role here.
“El Diablo was purposely chosen as the first song I wanted people to hear from this new project,“ says Cole, who was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. He studied at Puerto Rico’s Conservatory of Music and, after moving to New York City in 2003, the Manhattan School of Music. “Rafael Hernández is the most beloved songwriter ever to emerge from Puerto Rico, and Ray Barretto is easily one of the greatest Latin jazz and salsa percussionists of all time. These are my roots, my heroes. So El Diablo is my tribute to them.”
Cole is one of the most powerful and forward-thinking drummers working today, making El Diablo no mere cover song. Instead, Cole burrows into the heart and pulse of the folkloric Puerto Rican bomba rhythm and rebuilds the track back up from there. Henry Cole & Villa Locura is a juggernaut that freely weds a deeply churning polyrhythmic base to big band horns, rock guitars, electric piano and chanted call-and-response choruses. Tito Allen’s singing rides over all of it like a wicked master of ceremonies, egging the musicians on to greater heights.
“Having Tito Allen on this song was a dream come true,” says Cole. “He told me that he’d turned down all requests since 1973 to re-record the song because the original was the unbeatable standard, but he thought my arrangement was different, so he agreed to join us.”
The musicians on El Diablo are a veritable who’s who of international artists who either call New York City home or are part of the constant Nuyorican/Puerto Rican back and forth. Bassist Panagiotis Andreou was born in Greece while guitarist Guilherme Monteiro calls Brazil home. Pianist Luis Perdomo hails from Venezuela. Percussionist Mauricio Herrara is from Cuba while Obanilu Allende, Beto Torrens and Bryant Huffman are from Puerto Rico. Joining Allende on vocals are Puerto Ricans Jeremy Bosch and Cheito Quinõnes. Rounding out the band are American trumpeter Jonathan Powell, guitarist Adam Rogers and saxophonists Chris Creek and Mario Castro.
“El Diablo and all the songs I wrote for Villa Locura are inspired by my land and the things I miss when I’m away from my roots, away from the coast of Puerto Rico, the feeling of not having to rush and not feeling stress at all, just joy,” says Cole. “I wanted to keep it simple.
My focus was on feeling good, on how the musical parts worked together, and how I danced to it. I wanted people to enjoy it
and make them feel like dancing and I wanted musicians in the band to enjoy themselves playing it.”