There seems to be an unshakable perception that jazz is only for old people. Accordingly, many people believe that the only jazz musicians are either old or dead. Every once in a while an artist comes along and contradicts that sort of thinking.
Toru Dodo, a native of Tokyo, Japan, is a composer, pianist and arranger who began playing classical music at the age of four. A 1995 graduate of the Berklee College of Music, he moved to New York and soon found himself on the jazz scene. He has toured the United States, Japan, Canada, West Africa and South America as both a bandleader and a sideman. Dodo has also been a sideman for such jazz artists as Benny Golson and Kenny Garrett..
DoDo 3, his third CD, includes nine originals among its twelve tracks. He is backed by drummer Rodney Green and bassist Joseph Lepore. The songs are punchy without being overpowering. "Bolivia, composed by Cedar Walton, is a song the artist says he never tires of playing. It's easy to see why. Dodo puts his instrument through some pulsating paces. The trio is exceptionally tight as bass, piano and drums are completely in synch on several points of emphasis.
On "NYUCS (New York Underground Car Service), Dodo and his sidemen pay tribute to the city's subway system. One can easily get the feel of the hustle and bustle of the big city. After high-energy movement, Lepore delivers a rather subdued solo with the sound of an underground train in the background.
Dodo pays tribute to his favorite baseball team, 2004 World Series winner the Boston Red Sox, with "Brush Pitch. As he does throughout the album, Green is exceptional on the cymbals, particularly the hi-hat. The trio's perfect timing is evident here.
Although the sound does hold to traditional piano-led trio jazz, this music isn't old. Even the covers are given fresh arrangements by Dodo. It's often said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The individual parts of DoDo 3 are excellent from the opening "R or B to the closing "T. Dog's Theme, making this CD enjoyable throughout.
R or B; Bolivia; Boneless & Skinless; Inside Bubbles; NYUCS (New York Underground Car Service); A Spiral Escalator; Arabesuque; Giacomo Swing; Brush Pitch; My Romance; For Mr. M (Sazae's Theme); T. Dog's Theme.
Toru Dodo: piano; Joseph Lepore: bass; Rodney Green: drums.