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
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