Akira Miyazawa: Four Units (2007)
The opening title track is the most adventurous. After Miyazawa's tenor sax states the angular but still melodious theme, the rhythm section improvises together and solos in tandem, using notes sparingly and the space between them very effectively. The other pieces also are edgy hard bop in style, with some adventurous soloing by Miyazawa on tenor and flute, along with the other members of the group. The closer, "Black Bass," is the closest to traditional hard bop.
Miyazawa sounds like Sonny Rollins on tenor but with slightly less bite in his tone. He only plays a little flute which, however, is not that memorable. Pianist Masahiko Satoh, who also arranged "Scarborough Fair," demonstrates strong classical sensibilities. Bassist Yasuo Arakawa and drummer Masahiko Togashi - who sounds a bit like Elvin Jones - have a unique rapport with each other when playing behind Miyazawa and Satoh in addition to being accomplished soloists in their own right.
The CD is exquisitely remastered and the artwork, with liner notes only in Japanese, is very elegantly designed. Four Units reveals a unique and talented musician whose work deserves better and more widespread recognition.
Track Listing: Four Units; Idle Slumber; Scarborough Fair; Rainbow Trout; Black Bass.
Personnel: Akira Miyazawa: tenor sax, flute; Masahiko Satoh: piano; Yasuo Arakawa: bass; Masahiko Togashi: drums.
Record Label: Think
Style: Modern Jazz