8

Yosvany Terry: Yosvany Terry: New Throned King

Steve Bryant By

Sign in to view read count
Yosvany Terry is part of the new wave of young Cuban players who have come to these shores during the last decade and established a solid presence based on their artistry and virtuosity. What has distinguished Terry from his counterparts, however, is that while most of the Cubans are either pianists or drummers, his instruments of choice have been the alto and soprano sax. In the meantime, Terry, who is the scion of one of Cuba's musical first families, Los Terry, has been a mainstay on the New York jazz scene playing with the likes of Eddie Palmieri, Roy Hargrove, Dave Douglas, and Jeff "Tain" Watts.

While operating in the U.S., Terry has maintained a personal interest in the richly varied musical and religious cultures of his island. Terry was born and raised in the town of Matanzas, a recognized as a repository of traditional African culture and religion. He was raised in the Lucumi (Yoruba) tradition of his family, but recently developed an interest in another more esoteric spiritual/ tradition known as Arara, which came to Cuba with Africans who came from the Dahomey region. As his mother is descended from Haitians who practiced this, Terry made a conscious decision to study Arara rituals and music, eventually becoming initiated into the Arara community in Mantanzas.

Terry's new recording New Throned King (5Passion Records) is the musical culmination of his spiritual exploration, and one of the most creative recordings of the year. The entire set is comprised of music Terry composed, based on Arara "cantos" and rhythms, which for the most part have never been performed outside of Matanzas.

To insure the cultural authenticity of this project, Terry recruited top flight Afro-Cuban players and formed a group which he named Ye-De Gbe, which means " with the approval of the spirits" in Fon, the traditional Arara language. In this group are bassist Yunior Terry Cabrera who besides having solid Afro-Cuban cred is Terry's brother, pianist Osmany Paredes, African guitarist Dominck Kanza, drummer Justin Brown, who has been keeping time for Terence Blanchard, and a percussion battery comprised of, perhaps, the best Afro-Cuban drummers in the States, Roman Diaz, Pedro "Pedrito" Martinez, and Terry's homie from Matanzas, Sandy Perez, a member of the family clan which founded the legendary ensembles Los Munequitos and Grupo Afrocuba.

Terry opens the set with a ceremonial piece titled "Reuniendo La Nacion," (Reuniting The Nation) which begins with a mashup of Haitian and Arara drumming. Terry lays down an angular melody, joined by a haunting piano riff from guest Jason Moran. The title tune, an invocation to Asojano/Babaluaiye, starts off with a chorus by Martinez, Diaz, and Perez laid over a rhythmic piano vamp by Paredes, with a swingin' Shorter-esque solo by Terry. Terry makes things interesting with variations on the instrumentation. On "Laroko," dedicated to Elegua, Terry simply uses chants and clapping, interspersed with a sinuous soprano response. He also shows mad chekere skills to open the traditional ceremonial piece.

Other cuts of note are "Nase Nadodo," which includes a poem by Ishmael Reed dedicated to the African Amazons women warriors, and "Thunderous Passage," dedicated to Chango, a straight drum/percussion set. Terry eschews his horn and plays the ceremonial Arara drums known as wewe. The recording concludes with "Ile Ire." (House of Joy) which starts with vocals by Martinez and poetic meditations by Diaz, intertwined with hypnotic solos by Terry and Paredes on piano.

With New Throned King Terry has managed to take what might have been a pedantic scholarly work and created music which is at once powerful and revelatory. His ensemble is more than up to the task. Terry has shown to be a highly creative saxman. Paredes is schooled in both Afro-Cuban and bop/swing idioms, so his solos veritably dance through each composition, while Brown is adept at handling highly complex rhythm patterns. With this project Terry has created music of the highest order, redefined definitions of what constitutes so-called "Latin Jazz," and made arguably one of the best releases this year.

Track Listing: Reuniendo La Nacion; New Throned King; Walking Over Wave; Laroko; Ojun Degara; Mase Nadodo; Thunderous Passage; Healing Power; Dance Transformation; Ilere

Personnel: Yosvany Terry "Sobo Jain":saxophones,chekere,wewe,coro; Osmany Paredes: piano; Yunior Terry "Afra Jun":bass; Pedro Martinez "Eshu Ni": lead vocalist,apitli; Sandy Perez "Oya Ladde":yonofu,akoto (1,2,3,7,9.10); Roman Diaz "Asia Ana Bi:wewe,coro; Dominick Kanza: guitar (2,3,9,10); Justin Brown:drums (2,3,5,6,8,9,10); Jason Moran: piano,(1); Val Jeanty: sound design, DJ (1,8); Gema Correda: coro (4,5,6,8); Ishmael Reed:poetry (6)

Title: Yosvany Terry: New Throned King | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: 5Passion


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Loafer's Hollow" CD/LP/Track Review Loafer's Hollow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Happy Orchestra: Baba" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Orchestra: Baba
by Paul Rauch
Published: September 14, 2017
Read "A Home In Between" CD/LP/Track Review A Home In Between
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Shovel Down" CD/LP/Track Review Shovel Down
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Of The Night" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Night
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.