OKB Trio receives 4/5 Stars from All About Jazz

ALL ABOUT JAZZ

GEANNINE REID
November 8, 2018

There is something intoxicating about the sound of a jazz trio. The comradery, the symbiosis of group interreacting and communicating on a higher level of language through music. Such is the case with the OKB Trio. Each player is an esteemed player in many outside projects under other leaders’ names, but on this recording Brian Woodruff on drums, Oscar Perez on piano, and Kuriko Tsugawa on bass come together to create their own leader imprint titled The Ing…

A union of minds began at a jam session Woodruff ran at Blackbird’s in Astoria, Queens. After an invigorating night of playing together the three decided it was a match that felt so comfortable and musical that they should document it by recording a debut album. The Ing…, as in swing was born, and swing it does my friends. An amalgamation of standards and solidly-penned originals adorn the album with a high arc towards musicality. Kicking off the album is “The Welcome Song,” an ease into the music that soothes rather than jolts rather than employing the more common front-loading approach. Rather, the trio primes the palette for what is to come. Approximately two minutes into the tune is when the percolating sound of the trio reveals itself. What is so unique about this trio is its ability to create a slow burn, as exhibited on “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” Its delicately approach of the melody is tender, each player accentuates the beauty of the tune with a playful push and pull of the rhythm, as the melody animates in a graceful manner.

An original from the pen of pianist Perez, “El Padrino”—meaning godfather or patron—focuses on distinctive colorizations in its melody. Perez’ touch on the piano is flawless; he effortlessly creates a dialogue between his right and left hand. Bassist Tsugawa instinctually collaborates with Perez to a fervor, while Woodruff’s punctuations drive the tune to its climatic soloing section where each player elates in masterful performances through to the end of the tune with high synergy.

the OKB Trio is a collaborative effort. A Tsugawa original, “March 3rd,” is not to be missed. The bassist begins the tune with elongated lines as each player layers the sound with gentleness. The tune leisurely builds to its climatic state before releasing into the solo bass section where Tsugawa creates and placid-yet-inspired solo of utter winsomeness and regality.

What the OKB Trio brings to the table is a distinctive polished sound. The trio’s maturity of introspective playing coupled with agility and graceful affability is a cornerstone element to the trio’s music, well worth the experience.

Track Listing: The Welcome Song; I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter; Hi-Heel Sneakers; Milena; El Padrino; Please Send Me Someone to Love; I Remember You; Pirouette en Dedans; Safe Passage; March 3rd; Tristeza.

Personnel: Brian Woodruff: drums; Oscar Perez: piano; Kuriko Tsugawa: bass.

Title: The Ing… | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

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