155

Sumi Tonooka Trio: Long Ago Today

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Circumstance is not always kind, decreeing course and matter. In the case of pianist Sumi Tonooka, circumstance dictated that she wait for ten years before she had the opportunity to record as a leader. The last time she did so was in 1999 on Secret Places, released on Kenny Barron's label, Joken Records.

Tonooka plays with a strong commitment to melody and improvisation. She gets into the nectar of a tune and then draws out all of its delights. Her path to invention is filled with nuance and surprise, encompassed in an abiding musicality.

Tonooka has bassist Rufus Reid, who has played with her for over 25 years, and Bob Braye on drums. They are in empathy with her thought and moves, and together shape an album that is as delightful as it is heart warming.

The chemistry between the three is manifested from the opening pirouette of "Be the Dance," which is in 6/8 time. Tonooka sparks the melody and then propels it on, letting the intensity gain a gentle edge. She shows a compact sense of ideas, changing the pulse and the tempo with her phrasing. Reid and Braye heat the rhythm bed, constantly spurring Tonooka, and help turn the tune into an attention-grabber.

"Renewal" works on several levels. It has a gospel undertone but is constructed as a ballad. Tonooka deliberates over the melody, letting it seep in. She then opens it with loquacious notes, her runs stamping a quick emphasis. In the process the music gains a whole new, reverberating dimension. Braye adds splashes of color with his agile rhythm, while Reid is the bastion that keeps the beat in the groove.

"Moroccan Daze" is a bright, snappy tune that jumps from the lower register of the piano. Tonooka once again shows her considerable technique as she brings in block chords to complement her innovations. With the trio drinking deeply from the Moroccan rhythm, the tune captivates with its vibrant energy.

Tonooka's music is beautifully conceived and enthralling; a constant joy that will hopefully be followed up more often.


Track Listing: Be the Dance; All of You; The Clinging; Dreaming of Tibet; Quantum Question; Long Ago Today; Renewal; Moroccan Daze; Just For Now; Nami�s Song.

Personnel: Sumi Tonooka: piano; Rufus Reid: bass; Bob Braye: drums.

Title: Long Ago Today | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ARC - Artists Recording Collective


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Open Book" CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Doug Collette
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Six Easy Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Six Easy Pieces
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "The Time Verses" CD/LP/Track Review The Time Verses
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Small Town" CD/LP/Track Review Small Town
by John Kelman
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "Day and Night" CD/LP/Track Review Day and Night
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Hoping Against Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hoping Against Hope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.