In 2011 Yakov Okun received an invitation from the on Criss Cross Jazz label to record and release his debut album entitled New York Encounter. The recording took place in New York City by a stunning trio of Yakov Okun himself, Ben Steel (bass) and Billy Drummond (drums). It both showed Okun's search in interpreting the likes of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Fats Waller, and included some of his own originals. As it has been said in the liner notes of the CD, Okun as a «bebop devotee who doesn't play licks, inhabits a broad timeline of vocabulary with deep soul, a sense of humor, and an endless will to swing, and executes his ideas with crisp authority, nuanced touch, and imaginative flair». Speaking of Yakov Okun, you couldn't put it better.