‘Easter’ Review \\ Ashley Henry and the RE:Ensemble cut the safety ropes on revealing EP
Pianist and composer Ashley Henry is an artist whose consciousness is tied by Caribbean heritage, a South London upbringing and artistic circumstances. This mindfulness and poise enables Henry to deliver an EP of clarity and conviction with Easter, his major label debut and enticing precursor to the debut studio album expected this Spring.
The ensemble do well to match the energy level of the aforementioned tracks on the final two thirds of the EP. Pressure is an almost unrecognisable flip of The Enemy’s indie rock track, elevated by Cherise Adams-Burnett’s effortless vocal performance. Eddie Hick’s beats on the track are worthy of note, giving it the kind of energy and immediacy that made the debut album of now-defunct duo Yussef Kamaal so engaging.
Therein lies a hint towards the possibilities of Ashley Henry’s future. Comparable not only to Randy Weston in stature, Henry writes and performs wonderfully lyrical piano-led music and draws from the rich musical and wider cultural histories of Africa and the Caribbean. Henry too could arrange for large ensemble, perhaps not one like that which appears on Weston’s Blue Moses, but one assembled for the modern era, for Greater London and the wider world. Should that not be his personal calling, he’s a fine trio and Re:ensemble leader all the same.
EZH | Joshua French