Prominent Japanese trumpeter Itaru Oki and bassist Nobuyoshi Ino recorded this album in 1996 at a Café in Yamaguchi, Japan, and Korean trumpeter Choi Sun Bae flew into town just for this gig. Consequently, no drums or chordal instruments enable the trio to work from an open forum with few if any restrictions, especially when considering the free jazz aspects. Yet, they do convey a cozy group-centric deportment on these works consisting of variable ebbs and flows amid bright and brassy breakouts and intricately devised inner-workings.
It's no surprise that the respective musicians have performed with well-known jazz artists over the years given their commanding technical faculties and broad knowledge of the jazz vernacular, evidenced by the three jazz standards integrated with Oki and Ino's adventurous compositions. The bulk of these works are unequal parts melodic, chatty, mellow, raw and tinted with balladry in choice spots, as the artists seamlessly slide into mini-motifs, complete with the trumpeters' growls and acoustic effects. Meanwhile, Ino is very busy but also very productive as he combines a fervent pulse with super- speed walking bass lines. Nonetheless, the trio sustains interest, largely by not adhering to one game-plan that is set in stone. Thankfully, they branch out while conveying warmth and harmonious accord during several movements.
Either Oki or Bae dish out a passionately crafted and straightforward rendering of Benny Golson's modern jazz classic "I Remember Clifford." And the hybrid jazz standard twofer "Old Folks / Tea for Two" begins with a candid interpretation of the primary theme but meticulously reconfigured, moving forward. Here, the artists' abstract deconstructions spin new light on the tried and true, abetted by alternating tempo changes and frothy exchanges. Overall, the trio sustains interest by letting the ball roll in different directions and allowing their imaginations to run rampant.
Track Listing: Pon Pon Tea; Yawning Baku ; Ikiru; Kami-Fusen; I Remember Clifford; Old Folks / Tea For Two