S.Y.O.T.O.S. (an acronym coined by Chris Washburne, meaning See You On The Other Side) was founded in 1992 by trombonist Chris and features some of the best Latin jazz players in New York City. SYOTOS pushes the genre of Latin Jazz into uncharted waters with a postmodern mix that embraces dissonance, weaving contemporary uptempo beats with a driving sound. This boundary-breaking band exemplifies Latin jazz with a global reach, combining Afro-Cuban, funk, jazz, gospel, and contemporary classical music – “think Tito Puente meets James Brown meets Charles Ives!” TimeOut New York calls the group “a Latin jazz institution” as they held the longest running Latin jazz gig in New York, performing weekly for 20 years straight. The New York Times opines “SYOTOS plays with fire with erudition!” The band’s members are alumni from the bands of Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, and Ray Barretto and they continue with the foundations inherited by those Latin music greats, pushing the genre in the 21st century. SYOTOS has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Blue Note in NYC, Lincoln Center, BB Kings in NYC, Smoke Jazz club, Zinc Bar, BAM, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, MOMA (Museum of Modern Art in NYC), Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem, the World Economic Forum, and many jazz festivals across the US, including the Harare International Arts Festival, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival and Lake George Jazz Festival.
The group’s name refers to a time in 1992 when Washburne was diagnosed with severe nerve cancer and told that he had only a 50-50 chance of surviving an operation but no chance whatsoever of ever playing the trombone again. He insisted that before going into the hospital he play one more gig. After the show, he turned to his bandmates and said S.Y.O.T.O.S. “see you on the other side.” Washburne survived the operation but was left with severe nerve loss and damage to one side of his face. Proving the experts wrong, he managed to re-master his instrument and become an even better player.
Their five recordings have each received critical acclaim and their latest “Fields of Moons” was listed as one of the top ten jazz releases of 2010 on the JazzTimes critic’s list. They wowed the critics with their 1999 debut release, Nuyorican Nights (Jazzheads): “Booty-shaking heat.” – Ted Panken Down Beat
“Washburne and company are capable of capitalizing on a wealth of improvisational and rhythmic nuances Washburne’s sound captures some of the gritty, and at times mournful sound associated with great salsa trombonists.” – Mark Holston, Jazziz
“An evocative, at times almost dreamily inventive album.” – Gary Giddins, Village Voice “Probing and original, with intricate horn arrangements and thoroughly modern soloing from Washburne and his standout ensemble.” – Ezra Gale, Amazon.com
“A striking, well-balanced, salsa-jazz sound.” – Nancy Ann Lee, Jazz Times.
For their second release, The Other Side, which also received outstanding accolades from the press, was originally envisioned a tribute to Tito Puente with Tito joining the band as a featured guest. Shortly before the recording session maestro Puente passed away and Chris no longer felt comfortable with the notion of recording an album solely comprised of the late legend’s compositions. “I didn’t want it to look as though we were trying to capitalize on the passing of someone who was very special to me,” says Washburne. Instead, Washburne and the SYOTOS band opted to record some original tunes as well as Tito Puente songs and to dedicate the project to Puente’s memory.
Their third release, “Paradise In Trouble,” which incorporates influences ranging from house music to gospel to tradition Ghanaian drumming, was nominated as the best Latin Jazz release of 2004 by the Jazz Journalists Association. Their fourth release “Land of Nod” received incredible press response as well.
“Great new – highly unorthodox, funky and strange…” Descarga.com,
“A brilliant performance by Washburne and his band succeed in making an impressive statement with Land of Nod” -Ejazznews.com
“Best release of 2006″ -JazzImprov Magazine,
“most innovative and best produced records of 2006″ – Steve Caputo of Inside Connection..