All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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 Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Phil Barnes
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by John Kelman
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "Compassion" CD/LP/Track Review Compassion
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 1, 2018
Read "Asteroidea" CD/LP/Track Review Asteroidea
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Bethany Project" CD/LP/Track Review Bethany Project
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 11, 2017