January 2012 test: Taeko Kunishima’s new album Late Autumn is out now on the 33Jazz label.
To The Hebrides/Return To Life/The Waves/Kimie/Spring Rain/Rain Sketch/Dusk/Promise/Late Autumn
Total playing time 50.48
Taeko Kunishima’s third album Late Autumn finds the pianist (born in Shizuoka, Japan, now based in London) in a mood both lyrical and risk-taking. These nine original compositions fully display Taeko’s way with a melody, but this is jazz with a thoroughly contemporary sound.
Opener “To The Hebrides” is a meditative piano solo, quickly followed by the driving riff of “Return To Life”: Paul Moylan’s powerful double bass and Max Hallett’s shoot-from-the-hip drums are united in urgency. Sean Corby’s eloquent trumpet switches from au naturel to electronic psychedelia, while Clive Bell’s shakuhachi flute brings a lurking samurai menace to “Spring Rain” and “Dusk”. Meanwhile David Ross’s percussion stokes the embers under simmering charmers like “Promise”. Finally vocalist Rio Roberts paints the elegiac watercolours of the title track, a beautiful study in melodic melancholy.
Clive Bell’s production luxuriates in acoustic warmth, but then takes dubwise liberties, making this a surprising and decidedly non-purist album. Late Autumn is the most profound and adventurous statement so far from this creative Japanese pianist.
Late Autumn is available at Rays Jazz, 3rd floor at Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB.
Live performance video from album launch at The Forge, Camden Town: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De0AdNeuAEA
For info and performances please email Taeko Kunishima at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Links for Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/taeko.late.autumn
Reviews of LATE AUTUMN, October 2011
All About Jazz
Pianist Taeko Kunishima's third record, Late Autumn,
is an exciting work full of intriguing compositions, diverse instrumentation
and top-notch performances. Any one or two of these attributes, as manifested
on this album, would be enough to carry the day, but the presence of all three
makes for a must-hear release...
To date, Taeko Kunishima's live work has been focused in the UK, Germany and Japan. This
thoroughly modern and captivating record may be one to help her break through
to a more global audience, including casual jazz fans looking for something new
but also the aficionado in need of uncharted terrain to explore. Taeko
Kunishima's Late Autumn is the perfect storm of repertoire, arrangements
and players, with something for everyone. (Lawrence Peryer)
On this, her third album for 33Jazz, Shizuoka-born,
London-based pianist Taeko Kunishima has retained only shakahuchi player Clive
Bell from her previous recording, Red Dragonfly, but the energy level attained
on that fine album remains undimmed here, provided by trumpeter Sean Corby,
bassist Paul Moylan, and drummer Maxwell Hallett, supplemented by percussionist
David Ross and (on the title-track) by vocalist Rio Roberts.
Instead of the relatively conventional line-up of Red
Dragonfly (the core band of which was a piano trio plus saxophonist Russell Van
Den Berg), Late Autumn sets the composer/leader's alternately punchy and
lyrical piano against an intriguing mix of trumpet and flute, tastefully
tweaked and occasionally embellished electronically by producer Bell.
The all-original material ranges from the texturally
adventurous, stirring "Return to Life", its pleasingly splintered, somewhat
woozy theme giving rise to vigorous piano and flaring trumpet solos; the
alternately slinky and infectiously brisk "Kimie"; the appropriately softly
pattering "Spring Rain"; and the lighter, brighter percussion-driven piece
"Promise", but whatever they're asked to play, the band cohere impressively,
Bell's shakuhachi in particular lending the whole album a welcome
distinctiveness. Imaginative, unexpectedly varied, powerful but sensitive music
from a pianist who should be much better known. (Chris Parker)
Played with an outstanding sense of rhythm, combining flexible and firm. Beginning
with solo trumpet, the shakuhachi effectively offers exotic, oriental colouring.
Then cunning cyber-effects (eg distorted or over-amped trumpet and piano) spring
surprises round every corner. It’s a kaleidoscopic journey that will keep listeners bemused. Kunishima is an ancient Ninja, giving an outstanding, dignified performance.
More information: email email@example.com
■新進気鋭の英国ジャズを発信し続けるレーベル、33Recordsからのアルバム第3弾となるのは、Late Autumn（晩秋）と題された新録音！ 研ぎ澄まされた感性に憂いと郷愁がたっぷりと凝縮されている。