430

Nobuki Takamen: From Now On

By

Sign in to view read count
Nobuki Takamen: From Now On Breaking into the jazz scene as a guitarist is a tough move, with the icons of old standing reverently on high shelves, and the next big thing always out there somewhere awaiting discovery. While debut albums can impress and amaze, it's the follow-ups which cause genuine excitement. From Now On, the second release by Japanese guitarist Nobuki Takamen certainly does that.

While Takamen has prodigious technique at his disposal to spare, From Now On never forces it in your face as some albums in general, and guitarists in particular, are prone to do now and then. His lines—as well coated in bop flavor as they are—never seem aimless or without purpose, and his playing is consciously paced, with a sense of urgent energy at times; lean, yet full of ideas ready to flow onwards. While ordinarily that might be enough for a successful recording and career, Takamen is equally adept and skillful on slower, more contemplative compositions, not to mention the defining guitar altar known as the blues.

Although the closest denominator is a love of singer-songwriter James Taylor's music, comparisons could easily be drawn between Takamen's playing and that of the iconic Pat Metheny. His compositions all have strong, lyrical melodies akin to Taylor's, which sink into the mind, inviting subconscious lyric-writing from even the most casual listen. "Scenes" has a somewhat James-esque Metheny quality to it, while the deep, acoustic lullaby "Nebergall Loop" brings memories of Metheny's Travels (ECM, 1983) and not just via the spacey, is-it-delay-or-just-a-touch-of-chorus tone. That said, Takamen isn't a Metheny-clone by any possible definition, rather someone who has taken from the same influence and arrived at a similarly beautiful conclusion.

The rest of the ensemble altogether shines, both on the faster, more jazz-oriented material, and the slower pop-infused tunes. Whether it is Beninghove's driving tenor solo on "C.M.G" or Kanda's flowing and satisfying piano work on "Smile," Takamen is never found lacking support or left carrying a song by himself. On a related thread, the communication and interaction between guitar and piano is exemplary, each contributing to the accompaniment in ways which play to both instrument's and player's strengths. While Kanda takes responsibility for the majority of comping, the short moments of chordal playing on the guitar sits perfectly with overall harmonic and aural footprint of the group. Bassist Tanahashi and drummer Kikuchi provide the perfect blend of motion and subtlety throughout; driving when invited, and complimenting when called upon to do so.

Burning lines, thoughtful tunes, provoking technique and a band that isn't overshadowed by any of the above could easily sum up a good, one-off recording, but in this case, From Now On provides an exciting continuation of a promising career.


Track Listing: C.M.G; Scenes; One Big Shot; Smile; Like Blue; 3 x 4; Message for the Messengers; Nebergall Loop; Nine; From Now On.

Personnel: Nobuki Takamen: guitars; Bryan Beninghove: tenor sax (1, 6 & 9); Hitoshi Kanda: piano; Toshiyuki Tanahashi: bass; Makoto Kikuchi: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: What's New Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Known-Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Pastures" CD/LP/Track Review Pastures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Back To Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Back To Your Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "The Chicago Plan" CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Plan
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 16, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!