Ancestral Memories

  • Oct 19, 2017


  • Run Time: 75 minutes

Doors open 7:30PM



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Yosvany Terry, alto & soprano saxophones, chekere
Baptiste Trotignon, piano
Yunior Terry, bass
Clarence Penn, drums

Yosvany Terry and Baptiste Trotignon will give a pre-performance talk on the creation of Ancestral Memories ​at OBERON from 7PM – 7:30PM.  Their lecture is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6:45PM. 

With grant support from the French-American Jazz Exchange Program, Cuban-American saxophonist/percussionist/composer Yosvany Terry and French pianist Baptiste Trotignon present a unique and exciting program inspired by the rich and diverse musical traditions that emerged from the African Diaspora in the United States and former French colonies in the Americas.

Named Ancestral Memories, the project captures the rhythms, melodies, and harmonies of the Caribbean, New Orleans and French Louisiana, re-imagined through 21st century aesthetics and a jazz sensibility. The ensemble also features the extraordinary rhythm section of Terry’s brother, bassist Yunior Terry, and drummer Clarence Penn. Ancestral Memories’ debut album will be released in October 2017 on OKeh/Sony Records.

Nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album, Yosvany Terry’s most recent album New Throned King (5Passion, 2014) was based on a similar concept and seamlessly blended modern jazz with the ceremonial music of the West African and Cuban Arara culture.

About the Pre-Performance Talk:
The blues born of slavery, the sophistication of the salon, chants and rhythms of the African diaspora transformed under French colonization in the Caribbean – those are elements Grammy-nominated saxophonist, composer and Senior Lecturer on Music at Harvard Yosvany Terry and acclaimed Parisian pianist-composer Baptiste Trotignon forge into a suite for impassioned modern jazz quartet on Ancestral Memories.

“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,” says 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,” adds 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.


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Alto & soprano saxophones, chekere

Yosvany Terry

Alto & soprano saxophones, chekere

Yosvany Terry

Since his arrival in New York in 1999, Yosvany Terry has been making a difference in contemporary music. His innovative work, a unique confluence of Cuban roots music and jazz, “has helped redefine Latin jazz as a complex new idiom” (The New York Times).Yosvany Terry is an internationally acclaimed Cuban musician, American composer, saxophonist, percussionist, bandleader, educator and cultural bearer of the Afro-Cuban tradition. Born into a musical family in Camaguey, Cuba, Yosvany Terry went on to classical music training in Havana at the prestigious National School of Arts (ENA) and Amadeo Roldan Conservatory. After graduating, Terry worked with major figures in every realm of Cuban music including pianists Chucho Valdes, Frank Emilio, and the celebrated nueva trova singer/guitarist Silvio Rodriguez. From his earliest days in New York, Terry has been welcomed by the jazz and contemporary music community, playing with Branford Marsalis, Rufus Reid, Dave Douglas, Steve Coleman, Roy Hargrove, Henry Threadgill, Avishai Cohen, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Taj Mahal and Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribbean Sextet.His latest release, the Grammy-nominated “New Throned King” (5Passion, 2014), features music based on Arará cantos and rhythms and has been called the “musical culmination of his spiritual exploration” (All About Jazz). His previous album, “Today’s Opinion” (Criss Cross, 2012), was selected as one of the “Top 10 Albums of the Year” by The New York Times’ Nate Chinen. In 2015, Terry was named a recipient of the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award. He has received recent commissions by the Yerba Buena Garden Festival (“Noches de Parranda” for 12-piece ensemble with the support of The MAP Fund), the French-American Jazz Exchange with support from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (“Ancestral Memories” with pianist Baptiste Trotignon), and Harlem Stage (for his score for the opera “Makandal”, premiering in 2017). Terry received a grant from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and New York State Music Fund to create Afro-Cuban Roots: Yedégbé, a suite of Arará music. His latest project, The Bohemian Trio, is a genre-defying contemporary music ensemble based in New York that released its debut album, Okonkolo in the fall of 2016.Baptiste TrotignonFrench pianist Baptiste Trotignon, born in 1974, studied classical music from the age of six and discovered jazz and improvisation as a teenager. His first two trio albums in the early 2000’s, followed by two solo piano albums, brought him public and critical attention as one of the most spectacular, complete, and charming members of a new generation of pianists, and led to performances at many major French and international venues.  He has won many awards, including Prix Django Reinhardt, “Best French Newcomer” at 2003 Victoires du Jazz, and the Grand Prix at the 2002 Martial Solal International Piano Competition. Since then, he had performed alongside artists such as Tom Harrell, Stefano Di Battista, Aldo Romano, and Brad Mehldau, among many others. Baptiste’s first “American“ album, Share, recorded in New York in 2008, was a hit in France, soon followed by a highly charged live album recorded in London. After receiving Sacem’s 2011 Grand Prix for his work as a composer, he released a stunning solo album, “Song Song Song”, on which he celebrated his love of the vocalist’s art, featuring such prestigious guest artists like Melody Gardot and Argentinian percussionist Minino Garay.  He was also named Composer of the Year at the 2014 Victoires de la Musique Classique for his first major orchestral piece Different Spaces (Piano Concerto commissioned by the Orchestre National de Bordeaux). After a ballad album with saxophonist Mark Turner, hailed by Le Monde as “a lesson, a model, perfection from A to Z,” Trotignon continues to play resolutely open minded and imaginative music, most recently documented on his 2014 trio album “Hit” with drummer Jeff Ballard.Yunior TerryRegarded as one of New York City’s most sought after bass player, Yunior Terry is recognized for his big sound, versatility and contagious rhythm. As the youngest son of one of Cuba’s most gifted musical families “Los Terry’s”, Yunior followed the tradition and began his musical training at age seven, graduating in 1994 from the prestigious National School of Art (ENA) in Havana with a double major in violin and bass. Soon after graduation he joined the National Philharmonic Orchestra, performing works of Europeans and Cubans composers at the Havana’s National Theater. In 1998 Mr. Terry moved to California to attend The California Institute of Arts where he received his B.A. with honors in 2002. It was at CalArts where he continued to expand his musical horizon under Charlie Haden, Derek Oles (Poland), Rajeev Taranath (India) and Alfred Ladzekpo (Ghana) by exposing him to a wide variety of music and traditions from around the world. In 2009, Yunior Terry won the Van Lier Fellowships, awarded each year by Meet The Composer to active professionals, supporting the creation of new musical work and engagement in the community.  Yunior Terry has performed with Steve Coleman, Jerry Gonzales and Fort Apache, Lila Downs, Jeff Tain Watts, Eddie Palmieri, The late Hilton Ruiz, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Steve Turre, Dave Valentin, Jane Bunnett and his brother Yosvany Terry, among many others. In addition to his occupied schedule as a sidemen, Terry leads his own band “Son de Altura” created to innovate as well as to preserve the legacy of Cuban music.  Clarence PennClarence Penn is one of the busiest jazz drummers in the world, a leader of multiple bands, a composer, a prolific producer, and an educator. Since 1991, when he arrived in New York City, Penn has placed his unique blend of mega-chops, keen intellect, and heady musicianship at the service of a staggering array of A-list artists—a chronological short-list includes Ellis and Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Stanley Clarke, Steps Ahead, Makoto Ozone, Michael Brecker, Dave Douglas, Maria Schneider, Luciana Souza, Richard Galliano, and Fourplay. Penn’s impressive discography includes several hundred studio albums (including the Grammy-winning recordings “34th N Lex” by Randy Brecker and “Concert in the Garden” and “Sky Blue” by Maria Schneider) representing a 360-spectrum of jazz expression, and he’s toured extensively throughout the United States, the Americas, Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia. He’s composed music for films and commercials, and produced tracks for numerous singers in the pop and alternative arenas. He earned a “Ten Best of 1997” accolade from The New York Times for his first leader recording, Penn’s Landing.A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was a protégé of Ellis Marsalis, Penn is active as an educator and drum clinician. From 2004 to 2012, he taught on the faculty of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. He’s also served on faculty at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome, Italy, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Intensive Jazz Institute.Penn currently leads several ensembles. His most recent “rhythmically intoxicating” recording is 2014’s “Monk The Lost Files”arrangements of the music of Thelonious Monk. Released on the Origin record lable, an amazing quartet comprising saxophonist Chad Leftkowitz-Brown, Pianist Gerald Clayton/Donald Vega, and bassist Yasushi Nakamura performing the music of Thelonius Monk with today’s modern jazz sensibility. Near completion is a “world music” studio project of songs and instrumentals that melds background voices—including his own—with a world class band.