Friday, December 27, 2013

Eri Yamamoto Trio, Firefly

The piano trio in jazz remains one of the constants over the many years of group performances through to today. There can be an intimacy to such conflagrations of course, and especially for the pianist but increasingly for the bassist and drummer, it is a medium to express pure instrumentality, the sound colors available limited by the fixed nature of the instrumentation.

That is put to very good advantage on the Eri Yamamoto Trio's Firefly (AUM Fidelity 079). This one is not her first, but it is her first live recording, from the Klavierhaus, New York.

We have Eri at the piano in a program of all Yamamoto compositions. They and she have lyricism and a sort of restrained yet potent power, in a sound that reminds slightly of Carla and Paul Bley when they combined composition and performance in trio settings. The music is freely articulated, sometimes openly pulsating, other times with a more latent, rubato sort of swing.

David Abrosio on bass and Ikuo Takeuchi on drums work well with Eri in a free driving way. David solos nicely and Ikuo drums with excellent attention to dynamics and detail, so important in the trio mode.

The soloing of Eri has harmonic and melodic definitiveness. She makes excellent use of chromatic and expanded tonal elements to groove in modern ways, but can be diatonically lyrical too when she feels it.

This is a trio to hear. You who appreciate the middle ground between the open intensity of Cecil T. and the lush harmonicity of Bill E. and Herbie H. when in that mode, here it is. It's original and well done. She fits in that middle ground well, but in her own way. So give this one some time and you'll be well-paid by some very good music.

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