August 25, 2017

Monk Studies / Chihiro Yamanaka

Who expected one of his juniors to reinterpret and reconstruct Monk's music like this thirty-five years after he died?


The year of 2017 marks the centennial of Thelonious Monk's birth.

Some recordings were made in commemoration of the one-hundredth year by the musicians who respect him. They were joined by Chihiro Yamanaka, who created an album that should be also considered as contemporary jazz.

She knows Monk was good at playing ping pong too. What she tried to do in her album paying homage to him was take a full swing as off-scale as she could from his music while following his own musical theory.

In order to accomplish the mission, Yamanaka got on not only acoustic piano but plugged-ins such as Rhodes and synthesizer.

Along with Monk's songs, she included three original compositions of her in the album, which were based on his music method.

You may be surprised at the way Monk's tunes were arranged or excited at the modern groove. Anyway, Yamanaka's studies on Monk will let you revisit his world of music with a renewed attitude.


Monk Studies

- Chihiro Yamanaka (piano, keyboards, synthesizer)
- Mark Kelley (bass)
- Deantoni Parks (drums)
 1. Heartbreak Hill / Chihiro Yamanaka
 2. Pannonica / Thelonious Monk
 3. Nobody Knows 〜 Misterioso / Chihiro Yamanaka 〜 Thelonious Monk
 4. New Days, New Ways / Chihiro Yamanaka
 5. In Walked Bud / Thelonious Monk
 6. Rhythm-a-Ning / Thelonious Monk
 7. Ruby, My Dear / Thelonious Monk
 8. Criss Cross / Thelonious Monk
 9. Hackensack / Thelonious Monk
10. Abide With Me / (hymn)


Released: June 21st, 2017
Label: Universal Music



tag(s):JAZZ Japan CD
posted by Jazz Up Japan at 07:03 on August 25, 2017 JST | review | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

May 18, 2015

Wonderlands / Kaoru Azuma & Phillip Strange




When it comes to jazz standard collection, Kaoru Azuma may sound outside the field. But it's time for the diva to do it.

Azuma has established reputation in originals such as collaboration with Hitomi Nishiyama.The singer writes neat lyrics to the pianist's composition. That is apparently described to be too avant-garde work at moments. However, their last output TRAVELS is so sweet that it sweeps away those kinds of distracting ideas.

The latest release "Wonderlands" is the first jazz standard full album for the vocalist. The accompanist is Phillip Strange. He is a prominent pianist, particularly in playing duo with a vocal musician.

Azuma and Strange have performed together at live shows for some years to foster trust and respect for each other. The new CD is indeed crafted into details based on the relationship.

Although each of the artists plays their original music in their own domain, the songs they selected for "Wonderlands" are ones they have refined through the mutual emotion.

Azuma's natural vocalism without any waste and Strange's significant pianism with exquisite tones are thoroughly brought to the performance. Subdued voice and delicate touch are in place. Every single sound in the rendering is fine to appreciate. The recording engineers also did a great job. What a blessing to perceive the fulfillment gained by such awesome players! The entire album is absolutely recommended.

Released: April 22nd, 2015
Label: Daiki Musica INC.

Wonderlands on CD Baby
posted by Jazz Up Japan at 12:29 on May 18, 2015 JST | review | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

May 14, 2015

Dear... / KenKoba

KenKoba may remind you of the Japanese comedian, but they are a duo with Kentaro Sumiyoshi on guitar and Mayumi Koba on piano.

Their debut album "Dear..." features 10 original compositions. It is filled with passion to create something emotive.

Songs to listen out for include "beyond the prairie," the track Koba wrote inspired by Mongolian folktale Sukh's White Horse and "Always Blue Sky," the tune Sumiyoshi came up with when he bade farewell to his farther with his nephew.

Although a bunch of two-piece units of guitarist and pianist are playing their music, this outfit is outstanding in terms of rendition technique as well as powers of artificial expression.

KenKoba's album "Dear..." is really a noticeable debut release and worth getting for your heavy rotation.

Released: April 24th, 2015
Label: Ohrai Records


posted by Jazz Up Japan at 02:42 on May 14, 2015 JST | review | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする