Olivier Ker Ourio
Olivier Ker Ourio
Fortunately, his harmonica accompanied him, and it's here that his story truly begins — with the discovery of his love for jazz, and his first amateur concerts. Returning to Reunion Island, he studies under François Jeanneau at the National Conservatory of Music, forms his first group and plays extensively in clubs and festivals on the island. He opens for renowned singer Dee Dee Bridgewater. Then in 1992, he moves back to France permanently to pursue jazz full-time. One year later, with vibraphonist David Patrois, a milestone: he wins both the soloist and orchestral categories at the National Jazz Competition of La Défense and is later featured in the Paris Jazz Festival at Radio France. Concert and television appearances follow.
He plays throughout Europe and embarks on an extended tour of Russia with the group InterJazz. In 1994, Ker Ourio meets and performs with pianist Michel Petrucciani in concerts and on national radio. He also meets drummer Aldo Romano and records on his album Prosodie with Paolo Fresu, Stefano di Battista, Franco d'Andrea, and Furio di Castri. He also wins the "Fondation de la Vocation" award. In 1995, it's another move — this time to New York — to search out the true source of the American form.
While studying composition with pianist Franck Amsallem, he plays as a sideman with a number of celebrated musicians and is featured on vibraphonist Joe Locke's Sound Tracks, with Rufus Reid and Gene Jackson, for Fantasy Records. Central Park Nord (1997), recorded in NYC with David Kikoski, Ed Howard and Clarence Penn, marks Ker Ourio’s debut as a composer and leader, binding technical mastery to a rare lyrical talent. The critics agree: Ker Ourio is "the only worthy successor to Toots Thielemans." Returning to Paris, Ker Ourio widens his musical palette and collaborates with many musicians, including Denis Leloup, Tony Rabeson, Pierrick Hardy, Gildas Boclé and Pierre de Bethmann (of Prysm). In 1999, he brings them together to record his second offering: Oté l'ancêtre! (Hey, Ancestor!). The groove is an exceptional blend of jazz and maloya rhythms — and a musical rejoinder to his island roots and his ancestral Celtic heritage.
A Ride With the Wind (2001), continues musical ties with Pierre de Bethmann and Gildas Boclé, and welcomes a newcomer, drummer Franck Agulhon. The quartet is rounded out with guest appearances by Toots Thielemans (by now a true mentor and friend), Claudio Pontiggia, Jacques Pellen and Nelson Veras. The band tours in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Eastern Europe, the Indian Ocean and Venezuela. The album is dubbed "a new and decisive phase in the evolution of this self-made musician, whose career is just waiting to explode." In the words of master jazz harmonicist Toots, it is simply: "these tunes stick with you." In 2002, Ker Ourio organizes an artistic residence on Reunion Island, with the goal of creating a new fusion: jazz and Creole music.
He forms a collaboration with the island's legendary maloya vocalist, Danyel Waro. Together with the quartet, he records a fourth album, Sominnkér (Path of the Heart). The eleven tracks represent a rare blend of poetry, world music and jazz. The album wins praise from the press, and a still wider audience for Ker Ourio's music. Siroko (2005) marks a return to a smaller, focused ensemble format.
The CD is recorded with just two other musicians: Heiri Kaenzig, bass virtuoso of the Vienna Art Orchestra — and renowned American guitarist Ralph Towner (founding member of Oregon). The sound is lyrical, sinuous, soaring... assertive, daring, and precise. According to the press: “The guitar, bass and harmonica blend to perfection, often attaining a rare lyricism.
Between the unpredictable chords of Towner, and the melancholic sounds of the harmonica you have plenty to listen to, and one is very often magically transported to musical landscapes of rare color. It’s been said a thousand times Ker Ourio is the worthy successor to Toots Thielemans… but this CD, with an ingenious combination of sounds, expressive modern rhythms, and original melodies makes it one all his own. Undeniably! -- P. Dulieu -- Dragon Jazz Magazine, Belgium, June 2005 A new album will be recorded soon.
Today, Ker Ourio is currently busy touring in duet and quartet with guitarist Sylvain Luc, duet with pianist Manuel Rocheman, in trio for “Siroko” with bassist Gildas Boclé and guitarists Nelson Veras, and also as a guest in Frédéric Monino’s “Around Jaco” and Frédéric Jeanne’s “Rêveurs Lucides”, among other projects... Ker Ourio plays and endorses HOHNER chromatic harmonicas and is a HOHNER FRANCE artist. OKO has collaborated with: Ralph Towner, Sylvain Luc, Michel Pétrucciani, Aldo Romano, Didier Lockwood, Philippe Catherine, Martial Solal, Toots Thielemans, Daniel Humair, Michel Legrand, Manuel Rocheman, Jean-Claude Vannier, Sylvain Luc, Paolo Fresu, Stefano di Battista, Rick Margitza, David Kikoski, Rufus Reid, Gene Jackson, Joe Locke, Jean-Michel Pilc, Diederik Wissels, Danyel Waro, Lo Kwa Kanza, Laurent Voulzy, Georges Moustaki, Lis Sorensen, Khalil Chahine, David Linx, Pierre de Bethmann, André Ceccarelli, Louis Winsberg, Jean-Marc Jafet, David Patrois, Jacques Pellen, Thierry Lang, Heiri Kaenzig, Denis Leloup, Barend Middelhoff, Pierrick Hardy, Benoît Sourisse, André Charlier, Jean-Jacques Milteau, Igor Butman, Andrei Kondakov, Frédéric Favarel, Claudio Pontiggia, Jean-Christophe Cholet, Zool Fleischer, Guillaume de Chassy, Franck Amsallem, Jean-Marie Ecay, Yvinek... He has performed in: France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Algeria, Bahrein, United States, Venezuela, Mexico, and the islands of Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Corsica and Mayotte. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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