Carlos Henriquez is a New York Puerto Rican jazz bassist, composer and leader. As a teenager, he played for New York salsa legends like Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. Henriquez studied at Julliard under the old Tito Puente scholarship. Wynton Marsalis chose Carlos for his ensembles in 1998, right out of high school.
Today Carlos holds the bass chair of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He music directed the orchestra’s 2010 exchange with Cuba. He usually plays Dizzy’s Club on New Year’s Eve.
Carlos taught New York Latin Culture Magazine clave, the African Diaspora bell pattern that is the core of rumba and most Latin music. Now we live and breathe in clave. Thank you Carlos.
Carlos Henriquez is one of the most important Latin Jazz artists in New York City today, the heir to the legacy of Tito Puente.”Keith Widyolar, New York Latin Culture Magazine
Carlos Henriquez in New York City
Carlos is based in New York, so he’s around.
The Carlos Henriquez Octet plays The Latin Side of Dizzy at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Columbus Circle, Manhattan, Tuesday – Saturday, December 26 – 30, 2017 at 7:30 & 9:30 pm.
Henriquez joins the All-star Nuevo Jazz Latino ensemble in The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Friday and Saturday, November 3 – 4, 2017.
The Latin Side of Dizzy with Carlos Henriquez celebrates the centennial of Dizzy Gillespie’s birth in The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center Friday-Saturday, January 27-28, 2017 with shows at 7 & 9:30 pm.
The South Bronx Story (2021)
Carlos tells the story of us in the world premiere of The South Bronx Story, in the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 16 – 17, 2018, Friday and Saturday, with shows at 7 and 9:30 pm. From $45
Carlos is from The Bronx. He grew up playing with Latin Jazz and Salsa legends Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and Celia Cruz. He has been playing for Wynton Marsalis ensembles and for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since he was 19.
The South Bronx and El Barrio (East Harlem) are the intersection of Latin and New York. Carlos plays right there, at that intersection.
Tito Puente is still the world’s most famous Latin musician (Oye Como Va). Most people don’t know that Puente graduated from Juilliard after serving our country in World War II.
The South Bronx is just across the river from El Barrio (East Harlem). where Tito grew up. He absorbed the Latin music that he heard in his neighborhood where on some nights the drumming never stopped. But Tito also liked to sneak over to Harlem to listen to straight ahead Jazz in the Black clubs. He loved that music.
In fact, Tito dreamed of playing like Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman’s drummer. On a drum solo Krupa looked and played like he was out of his mind. Tito played that way too.
Thinking about the intersection of Latin and Jazz reminded me of this old video clip of the Padrinos (Godfathers) of Latin Jazz. It shows Dizzy Gillespie playing with Machito and TIto Puente in El Barrio. This is how it used to be once upon a time in New York. This is Carlos’ heritage. This is our heritage.
Carlos Henriquez is the heir to Tito Puente because Carlos played with him, got his start at Juilliard through the scholarship program that Puente funded before he died, and because like Tito, Carlos represents the fusion of Latin and Jazz in the best way that there is.
I’m guessing that this concert is going to become an album. In the same way that West Side Story is still relevant after all these years, I bet The South Bronx Story is going to be with us for a long time. Don’t miss its world premiere. It’s the story of us.
Joining Carlos for this historic concert will be:
- Trumpeters Terell Stafford and Michael Rodriguez
- Trombonist Marshall Gilkes
- Saxophonist Abdias Armenteros
- Flutist Jeremy Bosch
- Pianist Robert Rodriguez
- Drummer Obed Calvaire
- Conga player Marcos Torres
Carlos Henriquez Discography
Carlos has two albums under his belt.
Dizzy Con Clave
Carlos released the album in 2018 on the Rodbros Music label.
The Bronx Pyramid
Carlos’ debut album is The Bronx Pyramid (Blue Engine Records, 2015). For him, it represents the broad base of influences in his life, the large amount of work it takes to build something like a pyramid, and how one person on the top of his game can influence many others.
It’s beautiful to listen to Henriquez switch gears effortlessly between something very Latin and straight-ahead Jazz.
What Henriquez has achieved is impressive, but it didn’t happen by luck or just talent. He works hard like an investment banker. That is part of his genius.
The Jazz Side of Latin
Right out of high school, Wynton Marsalis chose Henriquez for his own septet and the bass chair in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. (By the way, you really should see them.)
I don’t know why Wynton picked Carlos, but suspect that it’s partly because Wynton understands that Jazz needs that Latin something-something to be Jazz.
Henriquez was the music director when the Orchestra went to Cuba in 2010, and when Rubén Blades debuted with the Orchestra in 2014. That concert was just released as a Una Noche con Rubén Blades in 2018 on Blue Engine Records.
Carlos teaches at Northwestern University. Nobody can explain Latin music like Carlos.
His gift probably comes from Marsalis who is the master storyteller of Jazz and almost singlehandedly built Jazz at Lincoln Center through his ability to talk about Jazz.
Jazz is our Latin heritage, just as much as it is our African – American heritage. The ferry between New Orleans and La Habana used to run twice a day.
Take your kids and your nephews and nieces to a Carlos Henriquez concert. They might learn a little about where we come from, who we are, and who we can be.