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Album Review

Miki Yamanaka: Human Dust Suite

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Miki Yamanaka: Human Dust Suite
Becoming increasingly known for her light, expressive touch, her solidly crafted, mainstream approach, and residencies at New York clubs like Smalls and Mezzrow, Kobe-born, New York-based pianist Miki Yamanaka brings a decisively more leavened gravity and a growing harmonic interest and prowess on vibes to Human Dust Suite, a seasoned follow-up to her widely recognized debut Miki (Cellar Live, 2018).

Perhaps toughened up by her work with the ever-evolving Roxy Coss on the saxophonist's exemplary outing Quintet (Posi-Tone Records, 2018), Yamanaka steers her versatile comrades, alto saxophonist Anthony Orji, bassist Orlando le Fleming and drummer Jochen Rueckert through an invigorating session in which "Human Dust Suite" holds center stage. Serving to prelude the main event, the sprightly paced "Pre-School," "March," (a flowing tribute to Mulgrew Miller and the romantic "First Day of Spring" kick things off with power and promise while revealing Yamanaka's cool, old-school leanings.

Inspired by a 1969 photograph, Human Dust by conceptual artist Agnes Denes, Human Dust Suite's five parts each explore a certain aspect of the human anatomy and the role it plays in creating a whole life. Starting from the top, "Human Dust Suite I Brain" opens with skittish activity and thoughts everywhere, until Orji clears the ephemera, allowing for more focus, with his well-grounded tone. But, as every living creature does, equally reflective and exuberant, the quartet fly off again on tangents and resolutions throughout the remainder of the suite and the bubbling, stylized epilogues "After The Night" and a catchy 5/4 take of Randy Weston's bluesy Berkshire Blues."

Track Listing

Pre-School; March; First Day of Spring; Human Dust Suite I Brain; Human Dust Suite II Hatsu; Human Dust Suite III Tummy; Human Dust Suite IV Feet Go Bad First; Human Dust Suite V Party's Over; O 2017; After the Night; Berkshire Blues.

Personnel

Miki Yamanaka: piano; Anthony Orji: saxophone, alto; Orlando le Fleming: bass; Jochen Rueckert: drums.

Album information

Title: Human Dust Suite | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Outside in Music


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