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Where is jazz headed and who is leading the charge into exciting new territory? Readers of this blog know that this year I've already mentioned Robert Glasper, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Geri Allen as producing exciting new recordings that quilt numerous forms, allowing their music to retain a traditional feel while integrating the contemporary. Another exciting artist breaking new ground—but coming at jazz from a Latin perspective, is saxophonist Yosvany Terry.
On his new release, Today's Opinon (Criss Cross), Terry plays alto, soprano and chekere (a percussion instrument). He's joined by Michael Rodriguez (tp), Osmany Paredes (p), Yunior Terry (b) Obed Calvaire (d) and Pedro Martinez (perc,vcl)—with Gonzalo Rubalcaba (keyboards) on Son Contemporaneo.
What makes this album special is how Terry delicately weaves Cuban influences with hard bop, fusion and avant-garde themes—creating a restless, shaken mix with a pointed feel. Fortunately, the album never settles into any one jazz style, nor does it succumb to the lure of endless Latin-jazz rhythms. It's an honest and fair merger, the result of which is something new and different. Terry truly combines forms while allowing the listener to feel the artist's message.
All of the tracks except Suzanne were composed by Terry. Suzanne was composed by Marcio B. A and Yunior Terry. This album is Yosvany Terry's second as a leader.
Terry is originally from Cuba and has been living in New York since 1999. He is a lecturer at Princeton, a faculty member at New York's New School University and the Harlem School of the Arts, and has been a resident instructor at Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University since 1995.
To hear the album's dynamic approach, sample Summer Relief, Son Contemporaneo and Harlem Matinee. A spirited blend of old and new—without sounding like one or the other.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.