Yoko Miwa Trio — Keep Talkin'
(Ocean Blue Tear Music, 2019, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2020-01-06
Yoko Miwa’s newest trio release plies the same stream as Pathways (2017) — spirited piano trio tunes drawn from both standard and modern repertoire along with a few originals. Drummer Scott Goulding and bassist Will Slater are on board from the previous release, with Brad Barrett taking Slater’s place on one track. The extended relationship with Goulding and Slater shows in the ease with which the tracks flow, and Miwa leads as first among equals. Her original title track gets things off to an energetic start, a grooving tune with a bit of a 60s soul-jazz flavor that could have come from the Les McCann songbook, and her arrangement of Monk’s “In Walked Bud” gets a real kick by having Slater carry the familiar melody on the bass. The other jazz classic on the album is Mingus’ “Boogie Stop Shuffle,” with an arrangement evoking a similar sense of fun. Joni Mitchell’s “Conversation” gets a rendition drawing from gospel and blues, setting the beautiful melody into a rich harmonic environment that enhances rather than distracts from the tune. The trio takes on the Beatles with a medley of “Golden Slumbers” and “You Never Give Me Your Money,” transforming the Abbey Road songs into a lush mid-tempo fantasy. Aside from “Keep Talkin’,” Miwa’s other originals range from post-bop swingers to moody ballads. Special notice goes to “Sunshine Follows the Rain,” which finishes off the album in a serene mood. It was recorded back during the Pathways sessions, and features a lovely bowed solo from Barrett. It’s also the longest track here, and allows the players ample space to stretch out. While Miwa has a deep knowledge of the traditions of jazz piano trios, she approaches the endeavor with an exploratory nature and a sense of joy that comes through on every track.
Related artist(s): Yoko Miwa
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more