Yoko Miwa Trio: Songs of Joy

Yoko Miwa

Boston-based pianist Yoko Miwa has released a great new album called “Songs of Joy” on Ubuntu records. Official release date was last Friday, February 12.

A native of Kobe, Japan, Miwa studied with Minoru Ozone, a popular television organist and nightclub owner. Miwa worked at Ozone’s club until the great Kobe earthquake of 1995 destroyed it. She won first prize in a scholarship competition to attend Berklee and began quickly playing with students and teachers, including vocalist Kevin Mahogany, who chose the pianist to serve as accompanist in his classes and on his gigs.

On “Songs of Joy” she is accompanied by Will Slater and Brad Barett on acoustic bass and Scott Goulding on drums.

The album contains five originals which are the result of Yoko’s decision to start composing every day when the pandemic started. The six other songs have been carefully selected to match with the overall spirit of this recording.

The album starts with “Freedom” by Richie Havens, a powerful song and a powerful version by Yoko Miwa, the dense groove by bass and drums and the heavy-McCoy Tyner like chords create a great energy. Excellent and fantastic opener.

The album continues with “Largo Desolato” the first original by Yoko Miwa, the odd and modal groove in the A-part and the more conventional harmonies in the B-part of the song are in nice contrast and give this tune an interesting mixture. Yoko Miwa’s solo is again powerful and precise. As an encore of this song we hear a drum solo by Scott Goulding. One of my highlights on the album.

“Song of Joy”, somehow the title song of this album Billy Preston comes next. This beautiful ballad indulges in the great and simple harmonies and melody of this song. I wished this song would never end and just continue forever. Outstanding.

“Small Talk” is the next composition by Yoko Miwa and it is a nice and easy swinging tune in good contrast to the song we heard before. Nevertheless her solo is again impressive. A jam-style 4 x 4 exchange with drums finishes the solos.

“The Lonely Hours” another original by Yoko features Will Slater on bass. This soft and melodic song is in best modern European jazz piano trio tradition.

“No problem” by Duke Jordan increases the pace again. This medium-up jazz tune presents again a brave and hard swinging Yoko Miwa.

“The Rainbirds” is the next composition by Yoko. The piano lays out the latin groove and feel of this song. Will Slater gets another chance for a nice bass solo.

The album continues wit the Thelonious Monk composition “Think of One” . Yoko plays an interesting left hand with the simple melody. The solo starts and finishes as a dialog with the bass player and sounds quite Monk-ish. Will Slater on bass takes over seamlessly for his bass solo. A drums solo closes this very sophisticated version of Monk’s tune.

“Inside a Dream” is the last original on the album. Again, great melody and beautiful harmonies are the main characteristics of this easy song.

“Tony’s Blues” by Tony Germain is the next song. This minor standard blues is in a nice medium tempo allowing the band again to swing hard. Impressive block chords in Yoko Miwa’s piano solo.

The album closes with “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Anne Bredon. Brad Barett plays the melody on his bowed bass with soft drums and piano arpeggios. In the second half of this song Yoko Miwa and her powerful piano playing push this song significantly.

Yoko Miwa’s ninth album convinces with its great selection of originals and songs by other jazz, pop and folk musicians. Her piano playing is powerful and precise and always incredibly musical. Her fellow musicians on this album know how to support a pianist perfectly. So please listen to this album and enjoy the energy and the positive spirit of “Songs of Joy”.

Yoko has produced a lovely teaser video for this album which I would like to share with you:

More information is found on her website:
http://www.yokomiwa.com/

And here comes the album as playlist on Spotify:

Derupeto

Derupeto

Swedish guitarist and composer Tobias Grim has released a new album with his new international group called ‘Derupeto’. The band was put together for a gig in Stockholm and the musicians felt that they could create something unique and started to play together as a band. The album was officially released on November 12, 2020 and it is available on all major streaming platforms since December 29. The line-up is:

  • Tobias Grim : Guitar ( Sweden )
  • Deodato Siquir : Drums & Vocal ( Mozambique )
  • Rubem Farias : Electric Bass ( Brazil )
  • Peter Knudsen : Piano ( Sweden )

The album starts with ‘Bahia’ one of the six originals by Tobias Grim, with vocals and guitar playing the melody nicely together over a great grooving band. We hear an excellent bass solo by Rubem Farias and a fine guitar solo by Tobias Grim.

‘Brazil Lines’ a composition by Tobias Grim and Marcia de Souza comes next and it has a great solo guitar intro. Deodata Siquir is featured as vocalist and Peter Knudsen is the soloist playing a fantastic piano solo.

‘Diorio’ comes next and this instrumental song composed by Tobias Grim is in contrast to the first two songs a modern Jazz composition with my favorite electric Jazz sound with a Fender Rhodes piano, electric bass and electric guitar. Outstanding and one of the highlights of the album.

The next song is called ‘Habari’ and the theme of this song shows the influences of African music, however the solos speak a different language and the dialog between guitar and piano with the pushing bass and drums is another example that we have here some great musicians enjoying what they’re doing.

‘Vanessas vals’ a waltz by Peter Knudsen comes next. Peter switches to acoustic piano and guitar, piano and vocals play together in unison the melody. This song is in European classical music tradition and features again the fantastic bass of Rubem Farias.

The album continues with ‘Funk do misterio’ by Rubem Farias. The melody of this instrumental song is played by the guitar. The first solo goes to Tobias Grim who is initially accompanied only by bass and drums. Rubem Farias plays the second solo and shows again his perfect rhythmic precision.

‘Tid’ another original by Tobias Grim comes next. This song captivates by its soft melody and smooth harmonies.

‘No bar’ by Deodato Siquir returns to the Brazilian side of the band. Vocals and piano play the melody together.  Every musician gets the chance for a solo including some nice drumming by Deodato Siquir.

The last song ‘Lifeline’ continues in the samba feeling. After a synthesizer bass intro the melody is played by guitar and vocals. Solos from bass and guitar and a relaxed but pushing rhythm section close the album.

‘Derupeto’ is a fantastic band with excellent musicians and the album is a fine collection of originals played in perfection. The band has been able to play live in 2019 and found their unique voice during that time. The songs on the album are all nicely arranged and recorded and gave me warmth and sunshine during some of those dark and cold winter days.

As we all hope for better days ahead the band is looking for more live performances in spring. Until then enjoy this album.

More information on the band is found on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Derupeto/

And here comes the album as a Spotify playlist:

 

Jazz Music – Jazz Concerts