As one critic commented, “Brian Woodruff’s OKB Trio. Featuring drummer Brian Woodruff, pianist Oscar Perez and bassist Kuriko Tsugawa, this group mixes rhythmic acrobatics with an uncanny ability to swing through the Great American Songbook or dance delicately through Brazilian and Latin standards.”
The OKB Trio was born at a jam session Woodruff ran at Blackbird’s in Astoria, Queens that gave him the privilege of playing with different musicians each week. On June 20th, 2010 he hit pay dirt. He brought pianist Oscar Perez, bassist Kuriko Tsugawa, and himself together for the first time that Sunday and the chemistry was immediate. All three musicians arrived early and were set up and ready to go well before downbeat, so they made a toast, had a drink together, and proceeded to swing for the remainder of the evening. Woodruff explains “We didn’t program anything super-difficult, but there were a few simple originals and some standards you haven’t heard very often.” At the end of the gig, Tsugawa said “I always want to play with THIS trio,” and we all agreed. Woodruff and Perez talked about the difficulties they experienced in featuring their own playing while leading larger groups that play elaborately arranged originals, so they decided that OKB would play simpler material, so they could focus on the groove and expressing themselves more freely on their instruments. As Woodruff proudly boasts, “We always keep the ‘ing’ in the swing.” While they are dedicated to swinging, Perez and Woodruff do have a tendency to jump off of buildings and set
The ensemble is Brian Woodruff - drums, Oscar Perez – piano, and Kuriko Tsugawa – bass.
The tracks are 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, and Tristeza
Fine collaboration and excellent musicianship – but most important is the ‘ing’ in the swing! Grady Harp, March 18