Jazzwise Magazine, London. Writer Tony Hall.
Today’s Opinion/ Criss Cross Jazz 1343
Terry (as, ss, chekere); Michael Rodriguez (t); Osmany Paredes (p); Yunior Terry (b); Obed Calvaire (d); Pedro Martinez (perc, v); plus Gonzalo Rubalcaba (keys). Rec: October 2011
Yosvany Terry is currently a member of the Eddie Palmieri band. Born in central Cuba, he studied at the prestigious National School of Art and the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory. For the past 13 years, he’s lived in New York and this is his first jazz album as leader since “Metamorphosis” (Kindred Spirit) in 2006 which really impressed this writer. “Today’s Opinion” is a giant step forward. It’s not a typical Criss Cross album, but it’s so much more than just another Latin jazz record. The opening track is perhaps the nearest to that category, but as it progresses and deepens, you know this record is going to be something special. This is an outstanding complex jazz record by the finest Cuban musicians in America. Yosvany, who has worked with, among others, Roy Hargrove, Dave Douglas, ‘Tain’ Watts, Avishai Cohen, the legendary Columna B, Dafnis Prieto and Steve Coleman, is a brilliant alto and soprano player (no slouch on tenor, either) and the band – with its strong African, Cuban and American influences – is in the same class as Coleman’s own Five Elements. His compositions – harmonically influenced by great modern classical composers like Bartok and Prokoviev as well as the giants of modern jazz and rhythmically by what he grew up with and what he’s heard on his travels – are as highly sophisticated as any jazz charts around today. His front-line partner Michael Rodriguez (brother of pianist Robert, whose 2006 Rodriguez Brothers “Conversation” CD on Savant was so strong), also with the Palmieri band, is as good as almost any of the current US top trumpeters. The rhythm section has a strong two-handed pianist (Paredes), Yosvany’s younger brother Yunior, now a formidable, strongly grooved bassist and the excellent Obed Calvaire (sometimes with Sean Jones’ group) on drums, who sounds like a polyrhythmic mix of Dafnis Prieto and Chris Dave. A jazz band of Cubans that plays with magnificent musicianship, passion aplenty with its heart on its sleeve, playing striking scores that sound even more interesting every time you listen. I repeat, it’s so much more than a Latin jazz record. It’s a great jazz CD.