Okonkolo

Okonkolo

Description: 
Beyond the triangle
Composers: 
Yosvany Terry
Pedro Giraudo
Manuel Valera
Andre Previn
Maurice Ravel
Performers: 
Bohemian Trio
Orlando Alonso
Yves Dharamraj
Yosvany Terry
Catalog Number: 
#956
Genre: 
Jazz
Collection: 
saxophone
Location: 

New York City, NY

UPC: 
726708695620
Price: 
$15.00
Release Date: 
Jan 20, 2017
Liner Notes: 
View
1 CD

Okonkolo

One Sheet: 

Few groups live up to their name as well as Bohemian Trio, whose debut album Okónkolo speaks to the true voice of America: a cacophony of cultures that together forge a new identity that transcends Old World boundaries. Their original blend of classical lyricism, jazz harmony, Latin dance and Afro-Cuban beats reflects their diverse cultural and musical backgrounds.

Saxophonist/composer Yosvany Terry and pianist Orlando Alonso were born and trained musically in Cuba, while French-American cellist Yves Dharamraj is also part Trinidadian. Sax, piano and cello? This unique configuration was a conscious choice by the group to eschew traditional instrumentation for an improvising group, and it pays dividends in the sound of Okónkolo, at once refined and edgy.

The album’s title track is named for the “baby” or smallest member of the Batá drums used in Yoruba religious ceremonies. The okónkolo traditionally serves as timekeeper while the “father” itótele and “mother” iyá drums converse, improvise and entertain. In Terry’s “Okónkolo,” this drumming tradition is both a metaphor for the interaction between saxophone, cello and piano, and a reflection of the cultural diffusion that embodies the Bohemian Trio and its music.

Also on the album are works by Pedro Giraudo and Manuel Valera, some of which use Latin and jazz idioms while dovetailing classical sounds and techniques. Giraudo’s “Push Gift” is a relentless Argentinean milonga that borrows Baroque imitation and Impressionistic harmonies. Valera’s “Impromptu” is a breezy piece that pays homage to George Gershwin.

As Adam Parker writes in the liner notes, “We might think of Bohemian Trio as a commingling of various musical styles and lived experiences, and this can help us as we seek to explain the group’s generous display of talent. Or we can just listen and marvel at the beauty of it.” 

Reviews: 

WALL STREET JOURNAL
“Okónkolo … offers welcome liberation from the baggage of expectation. … The trio’s chamber music adheres to no conventions. … Together, these musicians honor heritages that blur more than reinforce borders: the blend of European and African traditions that centuries ago amounted to a New World; and the sweet spot sought by many contemporary composers, especially in New York, grounded more in creativity than genre.” [FULL ARTICLE]
Larry Blumenfeld

NEW MUSIC BOX 2017 STAFF PICKS

"The title track from The Bohemian Trio’s debut recording, Okónkolo (Trio Concertante), springs a joyous escape from the porous walls of the genre prison. How to label this? Who cares! It’s crafted with expertise, performed with seemingly spontaneous precision, and a blast to listen to."

 

WTJU

“This disc begins with a classical association and soon we hear jazz lines through the composition. The instrumentation certainly adds to the puzzle: Orlando Alonso (piano) and Yves Dharamraj (cello) add strong classical tones, but then there’s Yosvany Terry (sax, percussion, composer of half of the pieces). The four remaining titles were composed by Argentinian bassist Pedro Giraudo (2), Cuban pianist Manuel Valera (1) and a re-working of Ravel’s “Passacaille from Piano Trio in A Minor”. The final title is a combination of world beat and jazz. One song is a combination of songs by Terry and Andre Previn. The blend of instruments is alluring and the performance is captivating.” [FULL ARTICLE] - Dave Rogers

JAZZ da GAMA

“Undoubtedly the main attraction here is not simply the brilliance of each of the musicians’ playing, but their partnership between saxophone, piano and cello, making the music of this Bohemian Trio superbly richer in possibilities. Each piece is a study in the art of musical intrigue as far as melody and harmony goes, and in the vibrant rhythmic games that each of the musicians plays among themselves. The recording by Adam Abeshouse is close-up and deeply involving.” [FULL ARTICLE] - Raul da Gama 

JAZZ WEEKLY

"Yosvany Terry brings his saxes and percussion to form a unique trio with pianist Orlando Alonso and cellist Yves Dharamraj.  The three mix folk harmonies and rhythms with European chamber sounds and improvisation for some enchanting moments. Percussion and alto sax join with high brow latin harmonies on “Okonkolo”  while a Mozartian “Push Gift”  teams yearning strings and piano with Terry’s gracious alto. The dream “Impromptu No. 1” has Terry’s soprano dreaming soft thoughts over Alonso’s piano, while latin kinetic percussion dances with strings and piano as Terry slithers on”Prelude No. 5.” The team does a rich table dance with sophisticated harmonies on “Tarde In La Lisa” asTerry sighs on the genteel “Passacaille From Piano Trio in A Minor” by Ravel. Classical teams with class." [FULL ARTICLE] - George Harris

KATHODIK

“Extraordinary,in fact, is their ability to maintain a perfect balance between written and improvised music: balance that is not derived from their mutual softening, but the clever mix complementary executive styles. The repertoire is ideal to enhance this kind of chamber jazz trio, with its original combination of instrumental colors, offers: with fine reinterpretations of classics pages of the twentieth century such as Previn and Ravel, to more outstanding songs to jazz, including whose compositions include some of the same Yosvany Terry, pervaded by a rhythmic dynamism that feeds South American and Eastern European influences. The agreement of the three musicians is truly remarkable: everyone has the opportunity to express their personality - not just a rhythmic level, but also through sophisticated harmonic and melodic variations - but always at the service of the plot that, in the musical dialogue, develops. A CD that is exciting, challenging, and complex. Unmissable.” - Filippo Focosi

 

ICON

“Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Two Cubans and a French-American walk into a recording studio…and presto, la vie Bohemian. This Trio consists of Cuban expats Orlando Alonso, piano; Yosvany Terry, sax and percussion, and Yves Dharamraj, cello, and they absolutely blur the “lines/distinctions” between classical music and jazz, between what’s notated and what’s improvised. “Impromptu No. 1 – for Gershwin” evokes the decidedly American melodicism and melancholy of The Big G with overtones of the European concert hall music such as Ravel (whose “Piano Trio in A Minor” is performed herein)—there is a beautiful balance of wellthought, immaculately poised execution and limber, relaxed exposition. “Bohemia,” written by saxophonist Terry has rolling rhythms as one might hear in Rachmaninoff and Dvorak and the softcaramel-center inimitability of a slightly sultry-toned jazz sax soloist. What’s extra nice is this Trio never seems as if they’re performing a shotgun wedding or pastiche of genres and approaches, especially considering this set consists of compositions by Andre Previn (himself no stranger to playing both sides of the jazz and classical boulevards) and Argentine jazz-er Pedro Giradao. More niceness: These are engaging, emotive, and lively compositions, as opposed to ivory tower “art.” If you can thrive upon Duke Ellington and Astor Piazzolla, Claude Debussy and Buena Vista Social Club, Benny Goodman and Bela Bartok (Goodman played & recorded Bartok, fyi), you really ought to hear this.” - Mark Keresman

 

CADENCE MAGAZINE

"A really nice mix of classical, Cuban and jazz musics with a swinging chamber music feel.” [FULL ARTICLE] – Bernie Koenig

ALL ABOUT JAZZ ITALIA

"Elegant work, made with great care and sensitivity, ineticable and therefore particularly valuable.” [FULL ARTICLE] - Neri Pollastri