Friday, October 1, 2021

New Yamanaka Album Released Today

from the Bandcamp Web page for this recording

Today jazz pianist Miki Yamanaka released her latest album Stairway to the Stars. This is a trio album that includes Mark Turner on saxophone and Orlando le Fleming on bass. Readers should note that the above hyperlink connects to a Bandcamp Web page, which allows for both physical and digital releases. As of this writing, only believes in the digital side without providing any information other than the tracks and their timings.

Strictly speaking, this is only partially a trio album. On the first two tracks, “Cheryl” and “My Melancholy Baby,” Yamanaka performs only with Fleming, whose bass work on “Cheryl” would definitely have connected with the spirit of Charlie Parker. Then, on the third track, Yamanaka offers a duo account of Steve Swallow’s “Eiderdown” with Turner. After that, the remainder of the album consists of trio performances.

Yamanaka offers all that one can expect from a jazz pianist who is attuned not only to the immediate present but also to the prodigious inventiveness of bebop past and leading inventors such as Parker and Thelonious Monk. Due to pandemic conditions, all eight tracks of the album were recorded in Yamanaka’s home in New York. Nevertheless, the sound quality is never compromised. This is the sort of music in which details are fundamental to the listening experience, and none of those details are short-changed.

From my own point of view, this is the perfect album for listening under pandemic conditions, thinking more about imaginative approaches to making music as the perfect alternative to succumbing to the Slough of Despond.

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