(Following Riyel at AAJ automatically enters you in the contest.)
Born of a long-running musical relationship & friendship that developed during their still-active tenure with Haitian supergroup Tabou Combo, trumpeter Ken Watters, bassist Yves Abel & trombonist / vocalist Andre Atkins formed the Caribbean / Roots inspired jazz ensemble RIYEL (pronounced ree-YELL, meaning backstreet" or alley" in Haitian Creole) roughly a year ago.
ANDRE ATKINS is truly an original voice in the modern trombone world, an extraordinary composer and a powerful vocalist (as he demonstrates on our rendition of the Hector Lavoe classic Aguanile").
YVES ABEL ("The Fridge") has earned his reputation many times over as a premier bassist, composer, producer & an overall creative force in the Caribbean music world. Yves is among the most influential & formidable bassists on the scene.
KEN WATTERS has been involved with (as leader or co-leader) four prior jazz releases for Summit Records (Brothers, Brothers II, Brothers III & Southern Exposure). The music of RIYEL, though still jazz, is a stylistic departure from Watters' earlier Summit releases.
When listeners describe the music of RIYEL (pronounced ree-YELL), most tend to categorize it as distinctly Caribbean and folklore-influenced jazz. However, our music defies traditional boundaries and is not so easily categorized. Our chosen repertoire is melodically-based, yet the element of individual and group improvisation is paramount to our overall musical concept.
Our mission is to combine what we believe to be the most powerful and seductive Caribbean styles with a mix of musical traditions from many cultures, all under the umbrella of the jazz spirit. To be integrally involved with a band like RIYEL has been a dream of all of ours for many years...
Riyel's album is an expression of the diversity existing in the rich Haitian cultural heritage & an innovative collection of jewels that will also delight jazz aficionados. We want to commend these three musketeers" (Watters, Atkins & Abel) - and the band as a whole - for this great project. Riyl is the ultimate meeting at the crossroads of real jazz & ground-level Haitian music that explores, expands & illustrates the limitless possibilities of our musical heritage. Thumbs up!" - Alphonse Piard, Jr. / Karijazz
You can donate to the Haitian earthquake relief effort through redcross.org or DoctorsWithoutBorders.org