He listened to the music of the masters: José Mangual Sr., Carlos “Patato” Valdés, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, Candido Camero, Milton Cardona, Willie Bobo, Ray Barretto and other Latin pioneers during the sixties. Brun’s family moved to Puerto Rico in 1968, which directed his attention to other Caribbean rhythms. He soon developed a unique style in bongo and timbal playing while expanding his knowledge on the conga. At the age of eleven, Henry was playing semi-professionally with local and regional groups in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It was then that he started focusing on Jazz and other musical genres, as well as devoting time to formal music training at the Juan Morel Campos Escuela Libre De Música (Liberal Arts School) in Ponce, studying under the tutelage of Moisés Ortiz and Rafael Montero.
Henry Brun landed his first professional gig with Danny Cruz (1974-75), a very popular Latin Pop group in Puerto Rico. From there he went on to perform with several nationally recognized groups while continuing formal training. Henry Brun had the privilege of studying music under the tutelage of Eduardo Flores Mattei, an internationally acclaimed Latin-American pianist/composer, whom Henry accompanied in his last performance (1978). In 1979, Henry joined the United States Air Force. This gave him opportunity to travel worldwide and gain more experience in other ethnic rhythms.
During his stay with the Air Force, Henry enjoyed the experience of performing with luminaries such as the legendary trumpet player Maynard Ferguson, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Barbara Mandrell and many others. In the latter part of 1989, Henry decided to pursue music as a full time career. Henry Brun has accumulated over 650 recordings (which include participation in a Grammy winning production and multiple Grammy nominations, as well as Gold and Platinum albums); several productions; original compositions; radio and television commercials; major motion pictures; featured on “Raza de Campeones”, Jazz Central (Black Entertainment Channel), and on “Texas Saturday Night”, a documentary on Texas music produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Brun’s performances have also been presented on ABS, CBS, NBC, NPR, Fox Network, ESPN, Univision and Telemundo, to name a few. Some of his recording credits include Grammy award winners Little Joe y La Familia, Texas Tornados, Rubén Ramos, Los Lobos and David Lee Garza; Grammy nominees, Ram Herrera, Jay Pérez, Joe López, Tejano Music Award winners Laura Canales, Shelly Lares, etc.
He has won recognition amongst fellow professionals a in his field. With credentials well established, Brun has become one of the most-sought-after studio musicians in Texas and The United States. His areas of expertise include the conga, bongo, timbal, and ethnic percussion instruments of African, Brazilian, and Middle Eastern descent. His increased popularity has placed him in demand nationally and internationally, in all genres of music. When performing with his award winning ensemble the Latin Playerz, his music covers a cavalcade of Latin styles, ranging from the slow tempo of a Cuban cha-cha and the more upbeat mambo, to the conga and rumba, guanguancó, songo, charanga, son montuno, timba and merengue rhythms.
The band also integrates rhythm and blues, swing, and straight ahead Jazz with a Latin beat. Performance invitations have included the Festival Internacional Del Caribe (Santiago, Cuba), Heineken Jazz Festival (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Festival International De Jazz in San Miguel De Allende (Mexico), Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival (Texas), Houston International Jazz Festival (Texas), Jazz’SAlive (Texas), House of Jazz Festival (Texas) and many more. Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz are an integral part of the Texas Music Project, a program developed to strengthen and restore rigorous music education in Texas schools and raise the awareness of the positive impact that music education has on students, and of course, to promote Texas music. They have also been part of the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Program. Another important educational project spearheaded by Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz is the Children’s Symposium that takes place during San Antonio’s annual Jazz’SAlive Jazz festival.
This symposium brings clinicians of various disciplines in contact with inner city children, exposing them to some of the sounds that create Jazz: percussion, high brass, woodwinds and vocals. Children are able to experience and participate in the creation of these sounds, thus bringing together the philosophy that music is for all ages and walks of life. The Latin Playerz were awarded the Latin Jazz Band of the Year Award (2005, 2007 and 2009), Premios a La Música Latina, Univision TV. Their 2004 production, titled “Spiritual Awakenings”, received critical acclaim and international airplay, as well as award nominations for Latin Jazz Album of the Year, Best Jazz Arrangement of the Year and R & B Song of the Year. The Playerz were nominated for the Best of 2009 Awards in the entertainment category by the Texas Meetings and Events Magazine.
Their most recent release, “A Tribute to the Master Duke Ellington” (October 2009) already has received rave reviews and was nominated by the Solar Latin Club for Latin Jazz album of the Year 2009. Music critics also have named the production as one of the Top Twenty Latin Jazz releases of 2009. It’s receiving great airplay in the United States, France, Spain, Colombia, Australia and Japan, to name a few. 2010 has been an incredible year for Brun. Henry was one of the inaugural legend honorees receiving the Heart and Soul Music Awards, presented by KROV 91.72 FM, San Antonio Community Radio.
Henry Brun was also nominated in 2010 for the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Charles Walton Diversity Award. Henry Brun is also a Latin percussion instructor / clinician and can be found producing music in studios. Brun endorses Latin Percussion Music instruments, Staggs Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Mapex Drums, Triplet Drum Glove, Audix Microphones and Evans drum heads. Read more on Last.fm.
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