All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Keiko Higuchi and Shin-ichiro Kanda: Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left

Geno Thackara By

Sign in to view read count
With a resume in music that tilts heavily toward the avant-garde end of the listenability scale, Keiko Higuchi is nothing if not challenging. Small groups dedicated to free (in every sense) improv are alternated with solo abstract sound paintings using her voice and occasionally processed piano. She sticks to vocalizing and leaves the keys to Shin-Ichiro Kanda when they team up as a duo, which is described as the more conventional of her outlets—which is to say that there are recognizable stylistic touches and familiar songs, but it's still fairly far out.

Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left offers a listen as vague and impressionistic as its title. Kanda sets an earthy foundation, often with low circular patterns and a painstakingly precise angularity that evokes the likes of Keith Jarrett or maybe Keith Tippett (staying much closer to the latter). Even with the cover ballads, such as "Lover Man" and "Rock Me More and More," the pair consciously avoid any rhythm too regular in favor of leaving unpredictable spaces between the lines. They occasionally touch on club blues in their own skewed way and take on Chico Buarque and Antonio Carlos Jobim with an obliquely haunting "Sabia."

Those odd moments of English aside, Higuchi weaves her spell in an expressive vocalese that conveys emotions with dynamics rather than words. Her low contralto is hypnotic and often vaguely unsettling, whether exaggerating certain syllables in an almost lounge-y drawl or fluttering and stretching notes in startling ways. The brief letter-titled interludes sound most freely improvised, giving the album a particularly challenging thread of atonality throughout.

There is indeed more than a trace of longing here, along with confidence, uncertainty, drama and much else. Passing... is a recording that conveys it all with great deliberation and demands more patience than most. It should certainly make some kind of impression, though there's no telling what it will be in the ear of the beholder.

Track Listing: 1. passing   Keiko Higuchi / Shin-Ichiro Kanda  2. Sabia   Chico Buarque / Antonio Carlos Jobim   3. d 4. Love Song / Liebeslied  Bertolt Brecht / Kurt Julian Weill 5. 三月のうた/ sangatsu no uta Shuntaro Tanikawa / Toru Takemitsu 6. Lover Man  Jimmy Davis, Roger Ramirez and Jimmy Sherman 7. a 8. 黒髪 / Kurokami Anonymous / Ichijuro Koide 9. Rock Me More and More   Colette Magny  10. f 11. Estate   Bruno Brighetti / Bruno Martino  12. longing  Keiko Higuchi / Shin-Ichiro Kanda 13. h

Title: passing and longing and there is only a trace left | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ftarri


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Terrestrial CD/LP/Track Review
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Get Somethin' CD/LP/Track Review
Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Bansangu Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
Bansangu Orchestra
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Spell" CD/LP/Track Review Spell
by Jim Worsley
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Nighthawks" CD/LP/Track Review Nighthawks
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 2, 2017
Read "The Things We Did Last Summer" CD/LP/Track Review The Things We Did Last Summer
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Peaks of Light" CD/LP/Track Review Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Stolen Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Steamdome" CD/LP/Track Review Steamdome
by Chris May
Published: June 13, 2018