Corey Henry is a the essence of New Orleans personified, a certifiable G. No two ways about it, the NOLA-born and bred trombonist is not only one of the best kept secrets of the Crescent City, he is a shining example of a hometown success story. A longtime member of Rebirth Brass BandKermit Ruffins’ BBQ Swingers, and currently Ben Ellman’s right-hand man in Galactic, for nearly four years Henry has been leading his own band Treme Funktet, and the venerable sideman-turned-frontman just dropped his solo debut Lapeitah.

Released on Louisiana Red Hot Records, the album finds Henry incorporating his background rich in Bayou tradition, with fresh influences from the realms of funk and golden-era hip-hop. A testament to the staying power of Treme tradition as well as a nod toward the ever-changing hood’s future, Boe Money’s solo joint is chock-full of blazing horns, helping usher in a new age in Second Line serenade. 

Henry looks for inspiration beyond his grandiose city’s limits; a longtime fan of James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley, he originally created the Treme Funktet as a NOLA version of The JB’s. “To sound like Fred Wesley and the JB’s. I was thinking in that kind of direction. But the sound takes a life of its own. We just add our New Orleans spices to it.” 

Explaining the unusual album title, the trombonist offers a tribute to his father. When acting as a Second Line Grand Marshal, Oswald “Bo Monkey” Jones breaks out a particular brand of steppin’, one that Royal Players’ leader Anthony Bennett calls “Lapeitah.” So his son Corey decided that fiitedly, it would be an apt moniker for his homemade gumbo grooves.  

“We do our own style of New Orleans Treme funk, that of funk, New Orleans brass band music, a little bit of hip­ hop–inspired music, a little bit of soul and R&B. We try to mix everything and keep it real New Orleans.” said Henry. 

In 2012, Henry organized the Treme Funktet with the intention of holding down a steady hit at the Candlelight Lounge, as a favor to the owner, his cousin Leona “Chine” Grandison. The venue was looking to expand the music schedule, hoping to lure live music back into heart of the Treme. In a beautiful example of irony and things coming full circle, Henry’s band became wildly popular, so much so that Treme Funktet was eventually handed the reigns to a neighborhood institution, Kermit Ruffins’ Thursday night standing residency at Vaughn’s. 

“He turned it over to us and we’ve been holding it down ever since,” Henry told Offbeat. “We appreciate that because that was a big step for us as a band—thanks to the great Kermit Ruffins.” 

Though Henry stays busy with local icons Galactic, touring nationally several times annually, the trombonist looked toward Gotham City and brought in Pimps of Joytime bandleader Brian J. for songwriting collaborations on LapeitahAs evidenced by so much within the Brooklyn-based Pimps’ prodigious output, J. is a huge proponent, and admirer of, New Orleans music. So it was a fortuitious twist of fate when the duo came together to make original songs. 

Henry explained: “That’s my main man right there! We’d been talking a long time about doing an album. We finally sat down and got in a creative space. He was masterful, integral, one of the big reasons this album happened. And he’s all over the record. He’s as much a part of this record as I am.”  

The album’s more than two dozen collaborators are a laundry list of longtime pals and peers. Boe Money makes sure to include Galactic saxophonist Ben Ellman and bassist Rob Mercurio, renowned tuba player Phil Frazier of the Rebirth Brass Band (with whom Henry cut his proverbial teeth in the game), saxophonist Greg Thomas of Parliament-Funkadelic, singers Erica Falls (currently touring with Galactic) and Cole Williams, and trumpeter/rabble-rouser Maurice “Mo Betta” Brown.  

This is an album that salutes the Treme; and also the eulogy for a fallen friend, Funktet member Trumpet Black. With that understanding, listeners will revel in this honest pledge of allegiance. Williams steps to the mic on “Tell Ya Mamma Nem” and “Baby C’Mon,” his weathered vocal going toe-to-toe with the jumping brass and bulbous basslines. Among the standouts on LapeitahCorey Glover, a vocalist who toured and recorded with Galactic (and is best known for singing with Living Colour) joins in on a reinvention of Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9.” Mo Betta and the dearly departed Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill team up on the hood-fabulous “Treme Life”, where Boe Money grips a microphone and gets his emcee on, name dropping NOLA-phonics like a the certified G that he is.  

Ushering in a new era at Vaughn’s, in the Treme, with Galactic, and beyond, Corey “Boe Money” Henry is a product of the Crescent City we can all get behind. His music is authentic, honest, and exciting; Lapeitah is all that jazz, and some lagniappe too. You can find the album on Amazon.
(Quotes from Offbeat, and The New Orleans Advocate