REMINISCE ON ‘ANCESTRAL MEMORIES’ AS THEY SET OUT TO TOUR THE NORTHEAST THIS OCTOBER
New CD inspired by Afro-French Caribbean roots of jazz and blues now available in U.S.
NEW YORK (October 2, 2017)—Grammy-nominated musician and composer Yosvany Terry and acclaimed Parisian pianist-composer Baptiste Trotignon will embark on a multi-state tour of the American Northeast this October in support of their new CD “Ancestral Memories.” Together with their co-led quartet, they will bring the thrilling suite of modern jazz influenced by the roots of blues and jazz in the Afro-French Caribbean to music lovers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York beginning on October 19. “Ancestral Memories” (Okeh/Sony Music France) is now available for purchase in the U.S.
Terry on alto and soprano saxophones and chekeré, and Trotignon on piano will be joined on tour by Yunior Terry on bass and Clarence Penn on drums.
On Thursday, October 19, they head to the Oberon in Cambridge, Massachusetts—Terry is director of jazz ensembles and senior lecturer at Harvard University—followed by 8:30 pm and 10:00 pm concerts at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday, October 20 and a 7:30 pm performance in Providence at the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island on Saturday, October 21. They close the tour with a four-night stand (Thursday, October 26 through Sunday, October 29) featuring 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. sets at New York City’s Jazz Standard.
The two discussed the album, which melds the blues born of slavery, the sophistication of the salon, and chants and rhythms of the African diaspora transformed under French colonization in the Caribbean. “We wanted the music on this album to be generous, warm, languorous, violent like in spiritual island trances, and gentle like children’s nursery rhymes, all while trying to blend the sophistication of language with dance — our ancestral source of energy,” said Trotignon, who contributed five compositions to the album.
“I wanted to celebrate all the voices of my ancestors, and do justice to the enormous contribution of the African descendants who populated the French Antilles and the Pan-African world. The music sounds like nothing you’ve heard before because we place the Caribbean at the center of the universe in terms of contemporary aesthetics and vision,” added the Cuban-American musician Terry. Terry also wrote five of the themes on “Ancestral Memories,” plays chekeré as well as soprano and alto saxes on it and considers the album a musical tribute to his grandmother’s Haitian heritage.
With his brother Yunior Terry on bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts playing drums, Yosvany’s expressive sax together with Baptiste’s orchestral piano approach turns the painful history of Africans subjugated to European ambitions into evocations of resistance, forbearance, adaptation, freedom, beauty and joy.
Overall, “Ancestral Memories” reflects on how a forced cultural convergence resulted in the music of the New World — the folkloric songs and lyrical melodies, call-and-response practices and ballads, syncopations, improvisations and spirited explorations that underlie all of today’s popular genres and contemporary composition.
Funded by the French-American Jazz Exchange (FAJE), a partnership between the FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) Foundation, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Terry and Trotignon took “Ancestral Memories” as an opportunity to expand on work each of them had done before, separately, to reclaim and refresh divergent musical traditions. Terry was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album for his CD “New Throned King,” which applied a modern treatment to West African-influenced Cuban Arará culture, while Trotignon gained fans and attention for “Chimichurri,” his 2016 Okeh duo with Argentine percussionist Minino Garay.
Starting their efforts for “Ancestral Memories” in 2015, co-composers Terry and Trotignon researched the sounds of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti and New Orleans. They collaborated through email and Skype sessions to write repertoire that bestows contemporary relevance on what might be termed “the Antilles aesthetic” after the archipelago comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the smaller islands stretching from Antigua to Trinidad. Doing so, they touched on rituals and street beats, hymns and the minuet, reaching back to make music for today and provide a new perspective on the past for tomorrow.
Tickets for the concerts are now on sale. To learn more about the upcoming performances at the Oberon in Cambridge, please visit www.americanrepertorytheater.org; for performances at New Haven’s Firehouse 12, please visit www.firehouse12.com; for details on the concert at Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, visit www.sccri.org; and for information on the Jazz Standard appearances, go to http://www.jazzstandard.com
“Ancestral Memories” is now available for purchase at Amazon.com and iTunes Additional information on the project can be found at http://www.yosvanyterry.com.