Monday, March 25, 2013

Asuka Kakitani Jazz Orchestra, Bloom

If spring comes, or I should rather say when spring really comes, in the weather on in the mind, there is music for it. Or any other time, for that matter. I allude to Asuka Kakitani and her Jazz Orchestra, and their first, somewhat startlingly fresh inaugural album Bloom (19/8 Records 1025).

Asuka makes her own sort of jazz composition, mainstream but not Basie/Jones-Lewis derived, lyrical, tonally full and original. The band is well-suited for her music, well rehearsed and sounding beautiful. There are folks like John O'Gallagher on sax, Jacob Garchik on trombone, Sara Serpa on vocals, often a wordless part of the ensemble, and other excellent players.

The music is sometimes inclined toward full-block tutti writing but there are sectional moments as well. There are times when she shows a little of her Japanese roots. But at all times Asuka Kakitani shows a sure hand writing for a large band, a melodic knack, a dramatic sense.

Bloom is what Ms. Kakitani is doing. She is showing herself as a beautiful musical flower. And she is giving us some very lovely new big band compositions. This is a happy thing!

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