Cuban-American jazz artist Yosvany Terry, left, will perform compositions from his new joint project with French jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignon, at New York City’s Jazz Standard in Manhattan from Oct. 26–29.
Laura Razzano

A jazz duo is set to perform the styles of Afro-French Caribbean music at the Jazz Standard in Manhattan Oct. 26-29. Cuban-American jazz saxophonist Yosvany Terry and French jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignon will perform compositions from their joint album “Ancestral Memories.”

The musicians recently released the project last month exploring the musical styles from parts of the Caribbean and New Orleans, and incorporated that into their album. The quest to discover those techniques challenged their small budget, but technology facilitated the task allowing them to fully absorb their respective music history, said Terry.

“We used everything available on the Internet to research because we couldn’t travel to every single country,” he said. “We spent a lot of time looking at material and there’s so much that we learned from all of these incredible regions.”

The pair researched music predominantly from Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and New Orleans as the source of inspiration. Terry says they wanted to bring forth these particular styles of music to a wider audience and peak interest on how they influenced jazz.

“These sounds have been infectious all over the world and I do believe that the musical contributions and sounds of the Antilles have incredible mobility,” he said. “And there’s a big presence of that in places like New York because of the Diaspora, so it was simple for us to bring that to the forefront.”

At the show, Terry and Trotignon will perform several of those sounds with a drummer and bassist for two sets. The two discovered an approach that is going to introduce Afro-French Caribbean types of music in jazz.

“We invite people to listen to all of the repertoires we put together and created for this,” said Terry. “We set out to research those traditions to get inspiration to create this, and the most the important part was to find way to play these new findings to new modern jazz quartet.”

Trotignon himself is not personally connected to the music like Terry is. But as a Frenchman he is exposed to Caribbean music styles such as zouk music. And Terry, who credits this project to his Haitian ancestry, was immersed in the culture by his Haitian grandmother.

“Even though Baptiste is not from that part of the world, he had the unique opportunity to get used to the rhythms, harmonies, and melodies of the Caribbean,” said Terry. “He’s been a really curious composer and that’s a gift for any composer. This was a great chance for him to learn and dig more into that part of history he was not familiar with.”

Terry says jazz and Caribbean music lovers are going to appreciate the efforts they put into the compositions they perform, and will be pleased at how they integrate it into their sets.

“I think they will enjoy being surprised with the repertoires that is French and inspired by musical traditions, but didn’t try to replicate or imitate these musical traditions.”

“Ancestral Memories at Jazz Standard [116 E. 27th St. between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, (212) 576-2232,]. Oct. 26–29 at 7:30 and 9:30 pm. $30.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]
Jazzman: Yosvany Terry explores Afro-Caribbean French music and jazz.
Bill Douhart

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