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UNDER THE RADAR

Big in Japan, Part 2: Osaka & the Eri Yamamoto Connection

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Part 1 | Part 2 In Part 1 of Big in Japan we looked at the early history of jazz music in that country--a history that dates back to the same time frame as the Jazz Age in the United States. The influence of American dance music was indisputable but it came to Japan through second-hand means. Sheet music and early recordings were enhanced by live performances--not from American musicians--but from Filipinos who learned from the occupying forces ...

INTERVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto: The Poet’s Touch

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One of the many places to go if you want to listen to jazz in New York is Arthur's Tavern. The special thing about that place is not that it is a jazz bar, but the fact that the same piano trio has played there for nearly 20 years. The name of the trio is Eri Yamamoto Trio and together with bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi, Yamamoto has been refining the lyrical language of the piano trio.

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto Trio: Life

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Tourist guides to jazz in New York often recommend the same venues like The Village Vanguard, Birdland and Blue Note, but there is a place known by true connoisseurs that should be the point of destination for everyone wanting to experience a real working trio with one of the most interesting pianists in contemporary jazz. The place is called Arthur's Tavern and for a long time, Japanese-born pianist Eri Yamamoto has played there, and developed her musical ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto Trio: The Next Page

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It is arguable whether a bar is the right venue for jazz in the 21st century. On any given night most of the punters are there for a chat with friends over drinks, maybe to pick someone up, and just perhaps to appreciate the music. For the last decade, Japanese pianist Eri Yamamoto and her trio have held down a regular weekend gig at Arthur's Tavern in NYC's Greenwich Village. Anyone who has made their way along the narrow bar ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto Trio: In Each Day, Something Good

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Half of the ten tracks on Eri Yamamoto's In Each Day, Something Good were composed to accompany a 1932 silent film by historic director Yasujiro Ozu, called I Was Born, But... Pianist Yamamoto describes the film, in the liner notes of this sixth album with her trio, as “a film about the unchanging human situation...serious and sometimes heartbreaking...[but also having] lightness and humor."

Working with Yamamoto are bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi. A studio recording made in Brooklyn ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

The Multiple Musical Personalities of Eri Yamamoto

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Eri Yamamoto In Each Day, Something Good AUM Fidelity 2010 Eri Yamamoto, Whit Dickey, Daniel Carter Emergence Not Two 2009

Known locally for her decade-long residency at Arthur's Tavern in the West Village, Osaka-born, Kyoto-bred and New York-seasoned pianist Eri Yamamoto has become increasingly visible on the Eastside avant jazz scene. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto: In Each Day, Something Good

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For her third outing under the Aum Fidelity banner, Japanese pianist Eri Yamamoto is back in the company of her long time trio featuring bassist Dave Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi. This is their sixth release together; not bad going for someone who had never played jazz before her 1995 visit to New York City, when first inspired to switch from classical upon hearing the great Tommy Flanagan doing his stuff. Though Yamamoto has found a niche at the free ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Whit Dickey / Daniel Carter / Eri Yamamoto: Emergence

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When the collective of drummer Whit Dickey, pianist Eri Yamamoto, and horn player Daniel Carter held sway at the Vision Festival in June 2009 they built tension to unbearable levels that built up to a cathartic resolution. On their first disc together, recorded in the studio four months prior to their Festival triumph, they program eight group improvisations in a much more relaxed vein, sometimes resolving sometimes not, but always coherent.

Dickey is still best known for his four-year tenure ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto: Redwoods

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That pianist Eri Yamamoto brings her feminine instinct to her music crosses a threshold to all living things. It is often women who can fly the Homeric banners to pass down the stories of caring and hardship, attention and vigilance. Known for her work with groups formed by William Parker, who is one of the greatest musical storytellers of this era, and more recently for her highly acclaimed Duologue (AUM Fidelity Records, 2008), she has released another recording in a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto: Redwoods

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Eri Yamamoto’s pianism is quietly dignified and her approach to music making exudes introspection and beauty. Each note seems sculpted out of the silence surrounding it, making this latest trio disc a pleasure. Yamamoto can certainly play ‘out,’ but her subtle exploration of the symbiosis of mode and chord places her apart from the firebreathers.

The wistful homophony of “Dear Friends” references gospel, blues and chorale while never quite conforming to any of those stylistic tropes. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto: Redwoods

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Every time she plays, Japanese pianist Eri Yamamoto seeks to paint an aural picture. Redwoods, Yamamoto's fifth release with her long standing trio (though the first on Aum Fidelity), constitutes an inviting and engaging gallery. It follows hot on the heels of her warmly acclaimed series of duets, Duologue (2008), and her soulful contribution to William Parker's outstanding Cornmeal Dance (2007), both on the same label.

After a Damascene conversion to jazz following exposure to Tommy Flanagan during a visit ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eri Yamamoto Trio: Redwoods

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If Yamamoto feels she has to make up for lost time working as an improvising pianist she's going the right way about it. This is her second Aum Fidelity release in 2008 and here her working trio gets the chance to set out its stall. The group grasps the opportunity with both hands and clutches it to its collective breast. Yamamoto and her cohorts seem to instinctively know the value of understatement. There isn't a surplus note here and that ...