232

Sumi Tonooka Trio: Long Ago Today

By

Sign in to view read count
Sumi Tonooka Trio: Long Ago Today The name of Sumi Tonooka conjures two images. First, the name of a fine jazz pianist whose album, Taking Time (Candid, 1990), was retrieved from a cutout bin circa the year of its release. Secondly, around the same time, seeing the pianist perform, chairing a rhythm section that supported the formidable duo of trombonists Steve Turre and Fred Wesley. Talk about cooking sets—this was a ringside table just under the feet of this powerful group, where it was possible to marvel at the agility and lyricism of the pianist.

So, the biggest question is...what happened to this pianist in the interim? Long Ago Today is only her fifth album, recorded in October, 2004. Reading her background is inspiring, in that Tonooka comes from Philadelphia, and has studied with the likes of Kenny Barron, Madame Margaret Chaloff (mother of Serge), French piano master Bernard Peiffer, Mary Lou Williams and Stanley Cowell.

Tonooka's last recording was almost ten years ago, with Long Ago Today is a marvel of her fluidity, self-assuredness and lyricism as a player. Although there is only one recognizable tune on the album, Cole Porter's "All of Me," it is easy to imagine how her fingers would wrap around other jazz standards and songs from the American Songbook

The variety of her own compositions displays a sense of keen excitement and melodic balladry. Her accompanists include veteran bassist Rufus Reid, who has appeared on all of her previous albums and has worked with Tonooka over the past 25 years. His empathy on bass is easily identifiable, and he provides a solo on the closing "Nami's Song."

Tonooka's drummer, Bob Braye, sadly passed in February 2007. Here is a percussionist with the credentials of having played with several jazz names, yet he's never previously been heard on record. Hiss sense of timing and dynamics has the sound and feel of a much younger musician and, combined with his two colleagues, makes this a formidable trio.


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: double 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 Magnetic CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read Someone Else CD/LP/Track Review Someone Else
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 27, 2017
Read Falling Forward CD/LP/Track Review Falling Forward
by James Nadal
Published: July 27, 2017
Read I Know Who I Am CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Guitarist, Alone" CD/LP/Track Review Guitarist, Alone
by John Eyles
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Porcupine Meat" CD/LP/Track Review Porcupine Meat
by James Nadal
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Quartet Plus, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet Plus, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "The Sparrow" CD/LP/Track Review The Sparrow
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Zea" CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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