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Yuka Mito: Time After Time (2012)

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Yuka Mito: Time After Time How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Time After Time, Yuka Mito's second solo album, shines new light on oft-recorded songs from The Great American Songbook, adding three pop tunes and one original for a tasteful project from a Japanese vocalist with a love for jazz. Now based in New York, Mito divides her performance time between the Tokyo and New York jazz scenes. A gritty contralto and ever-so-slight accent makes her approach even more unique.

Latin jazz pianist Chiemi Nakai provides the arrangements for the title track, Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
's "Caravan" and "Sing Sing Sing-It Don't Mean A Thing" medley, while pianist Allen Farnham
Allen Farnham
b.1961
—who performs here—pens the arrangements to a host of other songs. The album begins with a sizzling rendition of Irving Berlin's classic "Cheek to Cheek" complementing Mito's aggressive voice with the band's sprite instrumental work, also featuring bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Tim Horner
Tim Horner
Tim Horner

drums
. Farnham's terrific version of Ned Washington's time-honored "On Green Dolphin Street" includes some unexpected but well-placed scatting, supported by an excellent piano solo.

Mito's soulful phrasing make potentially worn-out songs like "Bye Bye Blackbird," Ellington's "Satin Doll" and the immortal jazz standard "Body and Soul" sound fresh and new. Two more classic songs enjoying Mito's stylish and unique treatment are "Imagination," and "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," while the singer transforms the melody to John Lennon
John Lennon
John Lennon
1940 - 1980
composer/conductor
's "Imagine," with improvisational twists from Farnham and Johnson.

Two other pop songs falling under the spell of Mito's charming approach: George Harrison
George Harrison
George Harrison
1943 - 2001
guitar
's renowned "Something"; and Cyndi Lauper: Memphis Blues Tour's title track. Heavily influenced by the music of Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
1917 - 1996
vocalist
, Anita O'Day
Anita O'Day
Anita O'Day
1919 - 2006
vocalist
and Carmen McRae
Carmen McRae
Carmen McRae
1920 - 1994
vocalist
, among others, Mito was first drawn to songs from The Great American Songbook on her as-yet unreleased Cole Porter—Latin Grooves, from 2005, making Time After Time, in a way, her debut release. Yielding once more to the passion that stirs within, it is a pleasurable encore performance of familiar classics from an unfamiliar Japanese songbird determined to change her status.

Track Listing: Cheek to Cheek; On Green Dolphin Street; Bye Bye Blackbird; Imagine; Nada Sou Sou; Satin Doll; Time After Time; Imagination; Sing Sing Sing--It Don't Mean A Thing; Caravan; Body and Soul; I Feel Nothing; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Something.

Personnel: Yuka Mito: vocals; Allen Farnham: piano; Dean Johnson: bass; Tim Horner: drums.

Record Label: Self Produced


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