Olivier Ker-Ourio - Oté l'Ancêtre !

Olivier Ker-Ourio - Oté l'Ancêtre !

I'd been looking forward to jazz chromatic player Olivier Ker Ourio's second album ever since he told me he'd recorded the first few tracks, and I haven't been disappointed with the results. I was very impressed with the sophisticated tone and technique I heard on his first cd, 'Central Park Nord', and continue to be impressed with what he presents here. With his debut release I felt that his sound and style, while very impressive, was reminiscent of Toots Thielemans. The highly refined aspects of his playing are still present on 'Ote L'ancetra', but I feel that I hear more of Olivier's own musical 'voice' coming through, and I like what I hear! It is apparent that a lot of trouble has been taken to produce an album with the right feel: there is real communication going on between Olivier and the other musicians.

The album, on which 7 of the 10 tracks have been composed by Olivier, is a tribute his ancestor Joseph Ker Ourio. Joseph left the Brittany region of France in 1728 and settled on Reunion Island (800 kms. east of Madagascar) where Olivier was raised and his family still lives. The French settlers took with them the traditional music of the Bretons, and in the cultural melting pot of the African, European, and Indian communities it developed a flavour distinctive to the Island, evident on 'Maloya la Terre Volcan' with its typically Reunionish grooves. If the music on this cd is any indication then Reunion Island must be a very relaxed place. The album takes us on a musical journey from Brittany ('On Laurient's Quays' where his ancestors left from), to the island ('Between Two Oceans'), where we get a feel for it's different regions ('The Moors', 'Fog On The Maido'). Track 10, 'Candy Man', also has at its completion an alternative version of track 1. But be patient, you won't hear it until about 8 minutes of silence after 'Candy Man' ends!(But it's worth the wait.)

While Olivier's ancestors may have left their homeland to escape material poverty, Olivier has returned the prodigal son with a cultural richness that he shares through the medium of jazz.

Paul Farmer

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