Kaori Osawa: Aluminum (2007)
Tokyo-based pianist Kaori Osawa studied under avant-jazz stalwart Aki Takase, the latter, now residing in Germany. But what is striking about this solo piano outing is her uncanny ability to convey a visible component that perhaps mimics the abstract attributes within contemporary art. She paints a canvass that is built on improvisation and composition to counterbalance the lone standard, a semi-free deconstruction of Monk's "Well You Needn't.
But this isn't just another solo piano jaunt. The artist uses space as an equalizer among her fragmented yet highly-rhythmic chord clusters, evidenced on the opening track, "Soda Funk. With flowing block chords and classical undertones, Osawa distorts any notions of predictability, largely due to an abundance of cleverly juxtaposed avant-garde like digressions. And at times she hypnotizes via delicately engineered chord voicings, while incorporating fabrics of jazz and blues into her repertoire.
She shoots for the stars on the title track, with flailing crescendos and staggered phrasings, all emphasized by a rather subliminal manner of intimating the overall rhythmic component. Nonetheless, dainty little surprises spring up throughout the album, but it's not an end game, as many of these works depict her athletic mode of attack. On Aluminum, Osawa's vernacular and imaginative thought processes come to fruition in a grand and all-encompassing manner.
Personnel: Kaori Osawa: piano.