Brooklyn-based trio Ocelot interweaves the patience of contemporary classical and the restless spirit of free jazz with an attention to deep listening that verges on sound sculpture. Formed in 2018, their “jazz adjacent” 2021 debut album balances insistent, cerebral minimalism with earthy melodicism, fiery nods to post-bop, and a sublime commitment to the moment honed by years of engaged improvisation.
Brad Cohan of Jazz Times called drummer/percussionist Colin Hinton’s playing “free-floating, visceral, and cerebral, all at the same time”, and he could well have been speaking about the entire group. Dynamic and empathic, the collectively-led trio of composer/improvisers also features Canadian ex-pat and JUNO Award-winning pianist Cat Toren and saxophonist/clarinettist Yuma Uesaka, “who susses out some powerful moments from his gentle lyricism” (Bird is the Worm). Leaders of their own respective ensembles and sought-after side players, presenters, and educators, the members of Ocelot have worked with Anna Webber, Ingrid Laubrock, Jon Irabagon, Tony Malaby, Eivind Opsvik, Tyshawn Sorey, and scores of other notable jazz, contemporary classical and avant-garde collaborators.
Yuma Uesaka (b. 1991) is a saxophonist, clarinetist, and improviser-composer mostly known for his work in jazz and creative music. Since his arrival to New York City in 2014, Yuma quickly built a reputation for his improvisational sensibilities and his powerful sound. As an advocate for music that celebrates modernity, hybridity, and rigor, Yuma works across diverse musical communities including jazz, creative music, and new classical music.
Yuma has performed at many of the notable venues in NYC such as National Sawdust, Roulette, The Jazz Gallery, Cornelia St Cafe, and Zinc Bar. He tours regularly both as a leader and as a sideman, and has performed across the US and beyond, making appearances in international festivals such as Detroit Jazz Festival (US), Lima ICPNA Jazz Festival (Peru), Otsu Jazz Festival (Japan), TU Jazz Festival (Canada), and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Festival (China).
Yuma is a member of Polyfold Musical Arts Collective. Polyfold is a grassroots, artist-led non-profit organization that helps create opportunities for improvising musicians to present creative works
Colin Hinton is a drummer, percussionist, and composer whose work reflects his study of jazz, new music, and spontaneous composition. Having moved to Brooklyn after studying with Ed Soph at the University of North Texas, he quickly established himself as an integral player in New York’s creative music community. His creation of music that is “free-floating, visceral, and cerebral, all at the same time (Brad Cohan, Jazz Times),” eschews academic rigidity and the limits of genre in favor of emotional relevance and impact.
Hinton’s music explores the reaches of structural extremes, moving between sparse and static landscapes and densely-knit ensemble passages. “Hinton steers, accents and colors without bombast, moving between choppy pulse, staggered grooves and punchy riffs (John Sharpe, All About Jazz),” providing his collaborators the grounds to push into new musical spaces. He does not distinguish between predetermined and spontaneous composition, often blending the two within a piece. His music draws from Feldman’s use of stasis and duration, Anthony Braxton’s conceptualization of musical structure, and Tyshawn Sorey’s deft use of musical extremes in complexity and dynamics, using each as a guide post for his own distinct musical language.
JazzTimes Critics Poll: 2021 New Artist of the Year
“their interplay suggests a life of its own” – Nate Chinen, WBGO
“blend of poise and passion” – John Sharpe, New York City Jazz Records
“a manifestation of pure, focused will” – Dave Sumner, Bandcamp Best Jazz March 2021
“an arresting debut” – Stewart Smith, WIRE
“this three-way conversation … is absolutely worth hearing.” – Morgan Enos, JazzTimes
“thoughtful music that … reveal its logic, drama and cumulative power” – Jerome Wilson, AllAboutJazz
“a unique record that stands out among others in its idiom.” – Mat Muntz, Jazz Right Now
“an engaging debut full of impressionist sound paintings that draw you into their textural spell” – Matt Collar, AllMusic (4.5/5)
“une belle découverte à suivre de près” – Citizen Jazz
“like the soundtrack to a surrealist family drama”, Michael Toland, The Big Takeover
“twists and turns that feel organic” – Scott Gutterman, The Brooklyn Rail
“hypnotic” Lucid Culture
For any inquiries please email below
ocelot.brooklyn (at) gmail.com