Like a fine lemon sorbet, Manhattan Sunset, the sixth album from pianist and veteran NY presence Kayo Hiraki, is that refreshing, necessary pause between courses that enables you to fully enjoy the vast jazz menu.
With an airy, elegant touch, tangible zeal and seasoned respect for her art, Hiraki leads her tried-and-true sidemen, bassist Patrick O'Leary, drummer Eric Halvorson and guests saxophonist Nick Hempton, acclaimed guitarist Russell Malone and Italian harmonica player Giuseppi Millici (whose playing flows like the Seine itself, literally stealing the show for six minutes on Hiraki's tender "June In Paris") through a twelve-song set of jazz's many twists and turns. Confident throughout, Kayo's tight, thoughtful musical constructions allow each player to shine (O'Leary is particularly verbal, along with Kayo, on the waltzing "Tarte Aux Fraises"; Malone on the wistful "Komorebi.") I'm sure many of the regulars at Arturo's in NY will get up to dance to the sweet swing of "Gorilla in Safari Motel" then stop to marvel as the trio brings it all to the fore on the beautifully languid Japanese folk song "Kojyo no Tsuki."
Track Listing: 59th Street Station B Line; Tarte Aux Fraises; June In Paris; Runaway Thought; Komorebi; Kojyo No Tsuki; Gorilla In
Safari Motel; Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers; Manhattan Sunset; Midday Sun Shower; Cafe Gitane; My Melancholy
Personnel: Kayo Hiraki - piano, vocal; Patrick O'Leary - bass; Eric Halvorson - drums; Nick Hampton. - saxophone; Russell Malone -
guitar; Giuseppi Millici - harmonica
There is a freedom and a sense of exhilaration in Jazz that is not found in any other music. Jazz is about finding freedom and a personal voice within a structure, and that is what
appeals to me most. I had a late start in jazz.
I was first exposed to jazz without any formal training by watching videos of Bill Evans, Chick Corea and Thelonious Monk in my 20's.
Later, I met Ahmad Jamal, Kenny Werner, Chick Corea, Martial Solal, Bernard Maury, Fred Hersh, Barry Harris, among many other musicians over the years.
The first jazz record I
bought was Keith Jarrett, The Melody at Night, with You and it is still one of the solo piano masterpiece in my view.
My advice to new listeners... Just enjoy it!
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