AAJ-NY: Joe Morris Quartet + Eri Yamamoto Trio

December 29, 2009

In addition to the results of the annual Best of 2009 feature, the January issue of AllAboutJazz-New York also includes new reviews of AUM Fidelity‘s latest releases, the Joe Morris Quartet’s Today On Earth and the Eri Yamamoto Trio’s In Each Day, Something Good (coming January 12th).

“Longtime Morris collaborators Jim Hobbs (saxophone), Timo Shanko (bass) and Luther Gray (drums) all shine throughout this record,” writes reviewer Wilbur MacKenzie of the former. “Hobbs’ solo on ‘Animal’ is nothing short of astounding in its abstract lyricism, replete with throaty vocalizations, dramatic use of negative space and a gradually expanding phrase structure. Morris’ compositions linger in the ear, as the ensemble dynamics in the improvisations always develop and enrich the evocative themes.”

“Yamamoto’s playing, unhurried and unforced, nevertheless demonstrates an active imagination and gift for melody,” declares Robert Iannapollo, “her improvisations avoid sweeping theatrical gestures in favor of focused introspection, in the spirit of someone who stops along the way to pore over the small details of everyday life that often elude those who hurry on. Displaying an intuitive rapport based on umpteen hours of on-the-job repartee, the trio recalls the close commerce and intimate atmosphere of Bill Evans’ classic group, the musical equivalent of an isosceles triangle.”

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AUM Fidelity To Kick-off 2010 With The Eri Yamamoto Trio

October 21, 2009

In Each Day, Something Good

On January 12th, AUM Fidelity will kick-off its 2010 release schedule with the Eri Yamamoto Trio’s In Each Day, Something Good (AUM059). The record, pianist/composer Eri Yamamoto‘s third recording for the label under her own name, follows 2008’s Redwoods (AUM049), which earned her longstanding New York-based trio, and its distinctive music, international acclaim. In Each Day, Something Good finds the group, which also features bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi, presenting a new collection of 10 original compositions.

“On this album,” writes Ms. Yamamoto in the liner notes, “half of the songs I composed through capturing some of my experiences living in New York City since 1995, and also through traveling within many countries to perform. I composed the other songs as a soundtrack to the black and white silent movie, I Was Born, But… by director Yasujiro Ozu. While Ozu’s film is serious and sometimes heartbreaking, it also has lightness and humor. Even though this film was made more than 75 years ago, we can still gain from it ideas and hope for dealing with the hard times our modern world is facing. We have been performing this suite of compositions along with screenings of the film.”

Critics have called Ms. Yamamoto’s past work on AUM Fidelity, which also includes her duos collection Duologue (AUM048) and a sidewoman role on William Parker’s Raining On The Moon (AUM043), “expressively versatile” (Philip Clark, The Wire), “a succession of distinct pleasures” (Michael Coyle, Cadence) and “a little dangerous and a whole lot lovely” (Will Layman, PopMatters.com). “Eri Yamamoto’s pianism is quietly dignified and her approach to music making exudes introspection and beauty,” writes AllAboutJazz-New York‘s Marc Medwin. “Each note seems sculpted out of the silence surrounding it.”

AllMusic.com’s Michael G. Nastos adds, “Eri Yamamoto’s contemporary jazz style has not only come of age, but has fully blossomed, flowered, and is as beautiful as any mature rose. This trio recording—with veteran bassist David Ambrosio and longtime drummer Ikuo Takeuchi—shows Yamamoto’s fluid melodic elements, sprawling vistas of color, and her innate common sense in stringing together lines of passion and cleanliness. While remaining in a modern vein, her piano style reflects classical training, post-bop sensibilities, and progressive ideals. An excellent trio recording that stands apart from most others with similar instrumentation, Redwoods deserves a close listen for every smart jazz piano fan.”

Trained in the classical tradition since the age of three, Ms. Yamamoto first heard a jazz piano trio perform live by chance during a visit to New York from her native Japan in 1995. Prior to that fateful encounter with noted pianist Tommy Flanagan, she had never studied or performed jazz. Four years later she burst on to the New York scene at the now defunct Avenue B Social Club in the East Village after completing her studies at New School University’s prestigious jazz program with legendary bassist Reggie Workman among others.

Her 14 year-old flagship ensemble, the Eri Yamamoto Trio, has since become a New York jazz institution thanks to its nearly decade-long residency at the historic Greenwich Village jazz venue, Arthur’s Tavern. The group currently performs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, offering what Time Out New York calls “the place to hear all the new ideas brewing in an already compositionally agile mind.” The trio has also performed in various other cities around the world, including tours of Italy, Japan, Spain and U.K. In Each Day, Something Good is the band’s sixth recording. Learn more at http://eriyamamoto.com