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Yoko Miwa: Canopy of Stars (2005)

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Yoko Miwa: Canopy of Stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Japanese-born, Boston-based pianist Yoko Miwa follows up her 2004 release, Fadeless Flower (Polystar Records) with A Canopy of Stars, building on her crisply incisive percussive approach that bubbles with warm melodies and an array of colors, whether on the bright Brazilian-flavored opener, "La Estacion," or the melancholic, dark-hued "Solitude," which features bassist Bronek Suchenek bowing the melody. Miwa takes the same tune and remakes it into a tango—handling the melody herself—on "Tango Soledad."

Miwas's more abstract side is displayed on "Appalachian Trail (North)," with a churning, Brad Mehldau flavor, and its sister tune, "Appalachian Trail (South)," that feels a bit more propulsive.

"Canopy of Stars" projects an expansive atmosphere. While "Borders" features one of Miwa's prettiest melodies, her piano work underlain by a sizzling, insistent bass/drum rhythm, Miwa's keyboard work dances with effusive energy.

"Waltz for Willie" adds a contemplative mood to the musical proceedings, as does "Behind the Clouds," while "Silver Screen" projects an expansiveness similar to that expressed by the title tune.

Miwa writes attractive melodies and plays with a mixture of delicate grace and percussive energy. Canopy of Stars, her third CD release, shows an artist who is clearly coming into her own.

Track Listing: La Estacion; Canopy of Stars; Solitude; Borders; Waltz for Willie; Tango Soledad; Appalacian Trail (North); Behind the Clouds; Secret Sources; The Silver Screen; Appalachian Trail (South).

Personnel: Yoko Miwa: piano; Massimo Biolcari: acoustic bass; Scott Goulding: drums; Bronek Suchanek: acoustic bass (3, 4).

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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