Prodigious pianist and composer Haruka Yabuno is also an accomplished improviser. She draws on her educational background in both classical music and jazz, as well as her native Japanese heritage, to craft engrossing and vibrant works that are delightfully unique. Two like-minded fellow alumni of Berklee College of Music, the virtuoso Israeli bassist Ehud Ettun and talented Serbian flutist Milena Jancuric, join her on the intriguing and poignant Collage of Moments.
Captured during European tour in 2015, the CD is a series of seven spontaneous compositions. The individual tracks are abstractly impressionistic as they are evocative of moods, thoughts and feelings. "Impromptu #02" is a mystical lullaby with Ettun opening with quiet and hypnotic refrains. He deftly weaves silent pauses within melodic fragments to haunting effect. Yabuno's darkly resonant chimes and clusters of ringing notes as well as Jancuric's sparse and twittering flute engage Ettun in a poetic and ethereal three-way conversation. A tender and nocturnesque ensemble performance concludes the tune.
Jancuric's wistful phrases and indigo hued tones mark "Impromptu #04." Yabuno and Ettun echo and embellish Jancuric's song. The cinematic piece moves from Ettun's eloquent and expressive solo to an introspective and passionate duet between Yabuno and Jancuric. It then transforms into a melancholic and tense trio improvisation characterized by Jancuric's breathy reed, Ettun's emotive lines and Yabuno's slow, simmering pianism.
The musicians' various influences are clearly heard throughout the disc. A Levantine lyricism imbues "Impromptu #01" while the energetic "Impromptu #03" is clearly western in its crystalline angularity and cool contemplative sound. Yabuno closes the album with an unaccompanied, elegant and agile extemporization deconstructing the bittersweet Japanese pop song "Chiisai Aki Mitsuketa" (Someone Found a Little Fall).
This charmingly sophisticated and multilayered record is simultaneously stimulating and stirring. The sublimely dynamic interplay among the three as well as each artist's singular creativity makes for a satisfying listening experience.
Impromptu No. 1; Impromptu No. 2; Impromptu No. 3; Impromptu No. 4; Don't
Fall Me Fall; Impromptu No. 6; Chiisai Aki Mitsuketa (Someone Found a Little Fall).
A young artist exhibits his work for the first time. An art critic is in attendance. The critic says, "would you like my opinion on your work?" "Yes," says the artist. "It's worthless," says the critic. The artist replies "I know, but tell me anyway."