New York Encuentro was recorded after several tours with Katsuyuki Itakura and Blaise Siwula in Japan and the USA. Originally formed as “Big Hearts” they found a kindred spirit in Richard Gilman-Opalsky a drummer who also has several degrees in political philosophy. Pianist Katsuyuki Itakura (b. 42) or “Kats” (as he’s more commonly known) has been playing jazz piano in Japan since his teens. He met saxophonist Blaise Siwula at the C.O.M.A. series in NYC in 2004 and a partnership was born which produced the “Big Hearts” cd release on Cadence Jazz Records in 2006. “New York Encuentro” steps ahead and covers a new spectrum of jazz music from the smoky ballad to full force free jazz and a few references to Eric Satie by Kats. Richard’s drums are a constant reminder that improvised music should maintain a concise direction.
The title "New York Encuentro" was Richard’s inspiration -
"Encuentros were the meetings, or "encounters" the Mexican Zapatistas organized in Chiapas after their rebellion in 1994. People from outside Mexico came together for the encounters for a unique moment to exchange ideas and try to build something together, then they dispersed. The Zapatistas also sometimes called these meetings "Intergalacticas", since they were all in one space but exceeded the boundaries of that space. "