|Photo: Peter Koloff|
Trombonist and composer John Yao is a busy musician and teacher. He leads several different ensembles including a hard-hitting 17-member big band, he has played in and continues to play in numerous ensembles including Terraza 7 Big Band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and Manuel Valera's New Cuban Express Big Band. Yao has issued five albums as a leader or co-leader including two with his Quintet, one with the Big Band, and one with the piano-less quintet known as Triceratops. That group has a unique front line––besides the trombonist/composer stands Jon Irabagon (tenor and soprillo saxophones) and Billy Drewes (alto and soprano saxophones). Their 2019 debut album, "How We Do" (See Tao Records) featured the rhythm section of Peter Brendler (bass) and Mark Ferber (drums); my review stated "the eight-song program is a delight from start to finish" and upon listening again recently, I stand by that review (read here).