How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Is live always better? Does the no second takes, out-on-a-limb aspect of playing in front of a live audience, and feeding off its energy result in the best recordings? It seems to work that way for Boston-based pianist Yoko Miwa on Live At Scullers Jazz Club, a mix of tunes from The Great American Songbook and the world of rock, shuffled in with her own outstanding compositions. An original pressing of a hundred copies of the showdone as a memento for the audience members this particular nightgarnered such a positive response that Miwa decided to have the music remixed and mastered for a general release.
Miwa displays an impressive stylistic range. Opening with a rousing take of Steve Allen
's "This Could Be the Start of Something," the pianist and her trio mix a bouncy elegance with a full-bore forward momentum. Miwa treats the melody with reverence, riding a inexorable rhythmic wave supplied by bassist Greg Loughman
, is no jazz snob. She doesn't limit herself to the standards. She covers Steven Tyler's (of Aerosmith) dark toned "Seasons of Wither," giving the tune sparkle, and turns in a pensively beautiful rendition of Lou Reed
's Velvet Underground song, "Who Loves the Sun?," featuring the trio at its most interactive.
Miwa adds three of her own top-notch compositions to the mix. "The Wheel of Life" rises and falls to mirror the vicissitudes, struggles, joys and sorrows of human existence. "Mr. B. G." is a nod to pianist Benny Green