All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

309

Yutaka Uchida: Living Together

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
You don't need to be a music scholar to discern that drummer/composer Yutaka Uchida has immersed himself within a broad spectrum of jazz-related styles. After honing his practicing and educational musical persona in his native Japan, Uchida sojourned to New York City and became active in various jazz-related performances and disparate projects. As a composer, the artist has received grants. And here, the drummer creates a masterwork based on an acoustic-electric fabric of sound. While Living Together won't be considered a masterpiece of epic proportions, it is easily one of the top outings of the year.

Its impeccably rounded-out program highlights Uchida's strong compositional pen, and is designed with memorably melodic content. He triumphantly bridges that rather opaque perimeter that is framed upon hard-hitting jazz fusion, swing and radio-friendly contemporary jazz. An ace drummer who occasionally breaks out with sweeping polyrhythmic fills, the respective pieces span a gamut of emotive and thematic frameworks.

The opener, "Mother Sea, is constructed upon a simple yet entrancing Edgar Varese type theme, spiked up with Ben Sher's ethereal jazz guitar phrasings and James Cammack's monster bass lines. Each comp stands on its own, however. Uchida's arrangements feature peppy shuffle grooves, gradually ascending wing vamps and tuneful hooks. It's largely about the ensemble's acute placement of dynamics and warmly-crafted passages.

On "Dryads, the band executes a tender ballad that is notched up with Sher's distortion-heavy guitar voicings and toned back down by Eishin Nose's subliminally rendered synth swashes and keys. But variety plays an important role, as the drummer steers the group through fluid, Latin jazz motifs amid some blustery sax soloing by Sean Nowell. And they rock out via a commanding jazz fusion gait on the straight-head and hyper-mode "Torrent of Lava.

At the end of the day, we can only hope that Uchida pursues an active recording career. This is a standout effort that communicates the total package, and it would be a crime for this sparkling gem to go unnoticed. There's a lot for everyone here, whether they require a smooth transition or break-in period to become acclimated to the world of jazz, or are seasoned aficionados who cherish impressive chops coupled with a sense of endearment through an elevated example of compositional form.


Track Listing: Mother Sea; Beyond the Horizon; Cheers; Dryads; Dance While You're Still Here; Truly Untrue; Peaceful Eyes; Torrent of Lava; My Old Faithful; Living Together.

Personnel: Ben Sher: guitars (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8); Eishin Nose: keyboards, piano (5); James Cammack: electric bass; Yutaka Uchida: drums; Sean Nowell: tenor and soprano sax (2, 6, 9, 10); George Dulin: piano; Danny Zanker: acoustic bass.

Title: Living Together | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Super Mood CD/LP/Track Review
Super Mood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Beheaded Totem CD/LP/Track Review
Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Doubtless" CD/LP/Track Review Doubtless
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 2, 2018
Read "Find A Light" CD/LP/Track Review Find A Light
by Doug Collette
Published: June 2, 2018
Read "Peaks of Light" CD/LP/Track Review Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "The Quest" CD/LP/Track Review The Quest
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Traveler" CD/LP/Track Review Traveler
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "Plus One" CD/LP/Track Review Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018