All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

5

Art Hirahara: Central Line

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
The central meaning behind pianist Art Hirahara's Central Line is simple to suss out. In literal terms Hirahara is referencing the Chuo-Sen (Central Line) subway line, a means for establishing his own relationship to the jazz world in Tokyo. But the message of the album runs deeper than that, tapping into the central lines that link person to place, past to present, culture to culture, and musician to musician. This is an exploration and manifestation of those lines that bind, and it's a fine one at that.

Nobody could've dreamed up a better crew for Hirahara to work with on this album—the top-shelf rhythm duo of bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Rudy Royston rounds out the core group, saxophonist Donny McCaslin drops in a few times as a guest—and the music benefits from the presence of such heavy company. But Central Line doesn't belong to the sidemen. Its intentions are still Hirahara's to have and control. Nobody would mistake this for anything but his work.

Hirahara could've used this as a showcase for running fast, free, and hard, tapping into the musical might of his bandmates, but he doesn't. Instead, he typically uses them to frame his pensive side in different ways. There are certainly moments of excitement—note the title track's rhythmic undertow, the swing unleashed on "Entanglement," and the joyous atmosphere and odd-metered groove of "Kin-Ka: Gold Coin" for confirmation. Those moments, however, don't define Central Line. Like much of Hirahara's output, this is more a thinking man's album than a call to arms. His meditative music—the Japanese traditional "Kuroda Bushi," Kan'ichi Shomofusa's Randy Newman-esque "Yuyake Koyake," his own originals, such as "Introspect," "The Giant Catfish," and "Tracing The Line"—acts as the guiding light here.

High times are all well and good, but simply nothing compares to hearing Hirahara contemplate through the keys. His musings bring you into his world, a place where contrasts and commonalities are both embraced and drawn out.

Track Listing: Central Line; Kuroda Bushi; Astray; Drawing With Light; Introspect; Little Giant; The Giant Catfish; Sensitive Animal; Tracing The Line; Entanglement; As Minhas Meninas; Redwood Thaw; Kin-Ka: Gold Coin; Yuyake Koyake.

Personnel: Art Hirahara: piano; Linda Oh: bassl Rudy Royston: drums; Donny McCaslin: piano.

Title: Central Line | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Central Line

Central Line

Posi-Tone Records
2017

buy
Libations & Meditations

Libations &...

Posi-Tone Records
2014

buy
Noble Path

Noble Path

Posi-Tone Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review
Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics CD/LP/Track Review
Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Invisible Atlas CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Atlas
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Blue Dreams CD/LP/Track Review
Blue Dreams
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Walking Contradiction" CD/LP/Track Review Walking Contradiction
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 31, 2018
Read "A Tribute to Geri Allen" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Geri Allen
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 1, 2018
Read "Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends" CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Distant Early Warning" CD/LP/Track Review Distant Early Warning
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Continuum" CD/LP/Track Review Continuum
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 10, 2018
Read "Contra la indecision" CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2018