143

Jay Thomas and Wataru Hamasaki: Accidentally Yours

Jason West By

Sign in to view read count
Jay Thomas and Wataru Hamasaki: Accidentally Yours Jay Thomas, Wataru Hamasaki, and Geoffrey Keezer divide the lion's share of jazz improvisation on this May, 2004 session taped at Ironwood Studios in Seattle, and while Thomas (a veteran Northwest trumpeter gaining international attention) and Keezer (whose resume includes stints with Art Farmer and Ray Brown) are well-established players, Hamasaki is a virtual unknown. Now here he is playing with the big boys, and making a big impression.

Thomas encountered Hamasaki on a recent sojourn to the land of the rising sun, where Jay is an honorary member of the all-Japanese CUG big band. On this twelve-tune session the Japanese saxophonist reveals a full, buoyant tenor tone, legato phrasing, and a sophisticated musical awareness. Certainly, Hamasaki displays more improvisational ability than most Japanese players, who are often expert imitators but struggle to find their own voice.

Geoffrey Keezer unleashes a host of memorable moments on this date. His creation "Accidentally Yours (originally written for Art Farmer's band) serves as the title track. Keezer's touch on the keyboard is to be marveled—each note rings distinctly audible in the midst of skillfully sculpted, rapid solo runs. Vintage Keezer blasts straight out of the chute on "For a Change, a hard bop, funkified shuffle written by Hamasaki and reminiscent of Wayne Shorter's '60s compositional gems. Keezer's working trio, consisting of ex-Seattleite Jon Wikan on drums and Matt Clohesy on bass, round out the rhythm section and bring integral elements of fun and familiarity to the proceedings. Wikan's tune "Tony's Town deserves note as a session highlight.

In his role as bandleader, Thomas is heard to advantage throughout, most notably on the trumpet/piano duo "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone. It's his only ballad on the session and he gives a gravity-free, impressionistic reading. In vivid contrast, Thomas snuggles into his old school bebopper comfort zone on Lennie Niehaus's "Malibu Party and Jessica Williams' double-time burner "Joy.

The pairing of Thomas and Hamasaki is likely to leave a lasting impression on your musical consciousness. Their rich trumpet-and-tenor sound on unison harmonic passages (Keezer's "Free Verse ) and back-and-forth bouts of solo horn tag (Clohesy's "No Fun Intended ) are the dominant forces at play on this disc. As bright as young Hamasaki shines on his American recording debut, it's clear that Thomas knows a real jazz musician when he hears one. For this cross-cultural collaboration the old-school vet deserves our thanks and some extra noodles in his bento box.

Visit Jay Thomas on the web.


Track Listing: For A Change; A Whole New You; Tony's Town; No Fun Intended; Time Out Of Time; Accidentally Yours; Kinnickinick; Free Verse; Malibu Party; Crossroads; Joy; Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone.

Personnel: Jay Thomas: trumpet, flugelhorn; Wataru Hamasaki: tenor saxophone; Geoffrey Keezer: piano; Matt Clohesy: bass; Jon Wikan: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: McVouty Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Miniatures" CD/LP/Track Review Miniatures
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Rumbler" CD/LP/Track Review Rumbler
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Do Not Disturb" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Disturb
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 26, 2016
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "A Cry For Peace" CD/LP/Track Review A Cry For Peace
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!