54

Miles Okazaki: Figurations

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Miles Okazaki: Figurations Figurations is the final release in Miles Okazaki's three volume compositional cycle. Its trajectory is based on forward-thinking ideas Okazaki began on his self-produced 2006 debut Mirror, and continued on the nearly sixty-minute Generations (Sunnyside, 2009), which was recorded in the studio in one take. While no less demanding, this recording was commissioned and performed in front of a live and appreciative audience at New York's Jazz Gallery.

Methodical yet emotive, there are manifold ideas and theories swirling in Okazaki's head that include mathematics, science, compositional theories, and improvisation in the vein of Steve Coleman's M-Base models. But these rigors are met in full force by a quartet whose core members include jazz heavy hitters: alto stylist Miguel Zenon, impeccable drummer Dan Weiss and Thomas Morgan, on arco bass, are each musically endowed and quite up to the challenge.

These adrenaline-charged compositions are consummate exhibitions of form and freedom, encapsulating exacting synchronicity and angular solos in "Dozens" and exoticism in "Wheel" (Okazaki describes this piece in the liner notes as "a rhythmic tiling canon in three octaves, with three voices, with a secondary canon layered on top"). Intellectual definition notwithstanding, the performance results in music that is exhilarating and passionate, with Okazaki and Zenón darting and hovering like hummingbirds seeking nectar.

Other notable moments include Morgan's inquisitive solo in the intro to the title track, before getting to the composition's core. When it does arrive, the two lead voices declare seething solos propelled by Weiss' precise yet creative drumming. Weiss continues to stand out on "Mandala," an exploration of the Fibonacci rhythmic growth processes. Figurations is most fascinating, but better still, it requires no understanding of the intellectual concepts to be fully appreciated. The band translates Okazaki's brilliant ideas into music that is not only thought-provoking, but more importantly, captivating and moving.

Track Listing: Dozens; Rain; Wheel; Figurations (Intro); Figurations; Mandala; Loom; Corazon.

Personnel: Miles Okazaki: guitar; Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone; Thomas Morgan: acoustic bass; Dan Weiss: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Like, Strange CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Coalesce CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Il sistema periodico CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Code Noir CD/LP/Track Review Code Noir
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Refuge In Sound" CD/LP/Track Review Refuge In Sound
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 4, 2016
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Soundscapes" CD/LP/Track Review Soundscapes
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 4, 2016
Read "Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Spaces
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "The Joy of Being" CD/LP/Track Review The Joy of Being
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 1, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!