in El Paso, Texas USA of Mexican-American heritage, his interest in
music began at age 6 with the violin in elementary school. After a
brief stint with the trumpet, he eventually settled on the trombone,
just before his family moved to Los Angeles, California, at 14 years
of age. His love for music continued into college, where he became
interested in jazz and began writing several Big Band arrangements
on his way to a Bachelor's Degree from California State University,
Los Angeles. In the following years, he worked as a freelance musician
with various groups, to include tours with the Si Zentner Orchestra,
Glenn Campbell and Bobbie Gentry.
1969, he was called to serve in the Army and sent to fight in theVietnam
War. After 5 months of combat infantry as "point man" in
a Recon Platoon, he was commissioned by an Army General to organize
a band to entertain the troops and raise the morale. The band, "The
Redcatcher Express" developed into a unique experience in
the military, which prompted a book by the same name "The Redcatcher
Express," and is available on www.airleaf.com .
completing his tour-of-duty in Vietnam, his freelance career started-up
again, to include a 14-month tour with reggae artist, Johnny Nash
where he shared the stage with R&B groups such as The Commodores,
The O'Jays, Minnie Ripperton, The Isley Brothers, The Ohio Players
and many more. In 1976 he organized a salsa band "Orquesta Siva,"
which was picked to open for the "Rolling Stones" 1976 Tour
of the Americas, for 5 consecutive nights at the Los Angeles Forum.
led to the start-up and leadership of another group, "The Los Angeles
Salsa All-Stars," which was comprised of the finest musicians in
in picture from left to right: Jose "Perico" Hernandez,
Arturo Velasco, Alex Acuna, Oscar Meza, Jorge Luis Balsameda, Pat
Reagh, Yari More, Carlos Navarro, Bobby Rivas, Harry Kim, Glenn Ferris,
Henry Mora, Pete Tollen, Louis Gonzales and Luis Conte.
1993, he returned to college and completed a Masters Degree in Music.
It is during this time that the concept for the "Henry Mora Orchestra"
surfaced. Patterned after the orchestras of the Big Band Era such
as Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, and incorporating
the musical diversity of his career. The concept involves combining
the classic Big Band style and well-known music of that era, with
salsa, modern jazz harmony, and rhythm 'n blues (R&B).
musically eclectic group, featuring lyrics in both English and Spanish,
quickly became a popular group
among local jazz and latin musicians in the Los Angeles area. In September
1995, the "Henry Mora Orchestra" was a featured artist at
the "Santa Barbara International Jazz Festival" held in
Santa Barbara, California, and has been performing in the Southern
California area since.
our Calendar for specific times and locations
to catch the "Henry Mora Orchestra" performing live.
With the release of the orchestra's first cd, 'Round Midnight came the opportunity to perform for several Jazz Festivals in Los Angeles, the Playboy Jazz Festival and the 1st Annual Hollywood Park Jazz Festival in Inglewood, CA. On May 30, 2004 the Henry Mora Orchestra was a featured artist at the Playboy Jazz Festival in Pasadena, CA performing for a crowd of about 35,000 people.
With the 'Round Midnight CD, the orchestra's size grew from 19 to 23 musicians. Featuring the female vocals of Noelia Hernandez, Juliana Munoz, and Bruni Mercado in both Salsa and Latin Jazz, the orchestra's focus widened. With the classic salsa styling of NYC Sonero, Martin X, a local salsa singer and musician the orchestra gained insight into the "tipico" perspective of salsa. It was a good year for the orchestra, growing in size and musical concept.
Following this, the On May 30, 2004, Tropico Records released the live recording of the Henry Mora Orchestra, "Live" at the Montebello Inn. Also available through CDBaby. This highly energetic performance marks the debut concert of the orchestra released as a re-mastered recording of it's performance at the Montebello Inn, in Montebello, CA. A swinging salsa Big Band jazz recording in a live setting, recorded in stereo with two microphones on two DAT recorders.
Tropical rhythms and jazz with Big Band arrangements was the concept for the recording. An exciting, energetic, sophisticated style of Big Band music that commemorated American jazz and latin standards.
On July 24, 2004 the Henry Mora Orchestra performed at the 1st Annual Hollywood Park Jazz Festival in Inglewood, CA. It's success is published in Inglewood Today Magazine and the U Entertainment Section of Newspapers in the Pasadena Star News, the San Gabriel Valley News, The Whittier news, and the Inland Empire's Daily Bulletin. Several reviews followed in the Whittier News, the L.A Times Calendar and personal biographic history of Henry Mora, story by Paul Anderson in the Inland Empire's Daily Bulletin Newspaper.