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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Work: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Monk

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The best way to embark upon Miles Okazaki's six-volume Work: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Monk is the same manner you might approach Herman Melville's American masterpiece Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. Like Moby-Dick with its 135 chapters (and epilogue), Work is a Brobdingnagian accomplishment. Okazaki performs the complete Thelonious Monk songbook. 70 tunes in total. The accomplishment here is not the 4 hours and 44 minutes of music, but Okazaki's dedication to the Monk oeuvre. The only other ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Trickster

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There is nothing deceptive about guitarist Miles Okazaki's Trickster. It is simply an elegantly crafted work that engages with its narrative quality and its darkly hued, intriguing texture. On his fourth release as a leader the New York based Okazaki leads a quartet that consists of two of his bandmates from altoist Steve Coleman's Five Elements, bassist Anthony Tidd and drummer Sean Rickman. Dynamic pianist Craig Taborn rounds up the group. Okazaki and Taborn open the album on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Trickster

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Guitarist Miles Okazaki (Steve Coleman, Dan Weiss) is a meticulous artist and visionary partly due to his thorny and geometrically inclined theme-building practices. With ECM recording artist Craig Taborn sharing the frontline, the guitarist often makes complex storylines sound effortless by design, paralleled by the quartet's symmetrical pulses and deterministic gait. The band also gels to odd-metered bump and grind motifs and linear progressions amid succinctly stated unison lines. According to Okazaki, “The Calendar" ..." is a song ...

INTERVIEWS

Miles Okazaki: Cleaning the Mirror

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In the backyard of his home in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, guitarist Miles Okazaki has spent time constructing a multifaceted backyard/garden filled with overhanging plants, stone walkways and a wooden pavilion surrounding a table and benches. The slats of the pavilion's floor seem to have been crafted merely for aesthetic purposes, but there's another process at work: the proportions of the ground structure are 144 in. x 89 in., which are, respectively, the 12th and 13th integer of the Fibonacci sequence ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Figurations

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Guitarist Miles Okazaki's Figurations is a fascinating document of how musical invention takes place on the spur of the moment. It is not a mad conglomeration of notes that come out in jagged clusters, but a mellifluous harmolodic excursion by four spectacular musicians as they begin to create music on each of their instruments, with their own ideas flowing organically, yet directed by the composer, Okazaki, who defines how the melody should sound by stating its antecedents and basic idea. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Figurations

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Figurations is the final release in Miles Okazaki's three volume compositional cycle. Its trajectory is based on forward-thinking ideas Okazaki began on his self-produced 2006 debut Mirror, and continued on the nearly sixty-minute Generations (Sunnyside, 2009), which was recorded in the studio in one take. While no less demanding, this recording was commissioned and performed in front of a live and appreciative audience at New York's Jazz Gallery.Methodical yet emotive, there are manifold ideas and theories swirling in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Generations

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Generations, Miles Okazaki's second CD, displays the ornate structural latticework and solid foundation of a highly skilled conceptual architect. As a guitarist his tone is taut and balanced across the full range of the instrument, full of rhythmic and melodic nuance. Okazaki also shows thoughtfulness and creativity as a composer and bandleader, assembling a close-knit group of skilled colleagues and providing a conceptual and thematic framework that elicits exquisite contributions from all the players. This music resides at the crossroads ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Generations

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Myriad ideas collide and interact on Miles Okazaki's follow-up to Mirror: his latest offering, Generations. These ideas span not only musical forms and concepts but also cultures--from Indian to European and American. The music also leaps across various artistic disciplines--philosophical, mathematical and visual--to render one central ostensible idea: that all sound is an experience shaped by the tangible and intangible in both an infinite and finite measure of time and space. Generations is a series of songs ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Mirror

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For many people, jazz represents in music the fulcrum of the scale that balances the attraction between body and mind. This continuum allows for a “big tent" approach, whereby one can find a place that is comfortable and expand out if one desires. Mirror, guitarist Miles Okazaki's self-produced debut release, has all the markings of a deeply searching, highly emotional musician whose music nevertheless is the natural outgrowth of an intellectual curiosity that encompasses many fields, including ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Miles Okazaki at the Jazz Gallery

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Miles OkazakiJazz GalleryNew York, NYThursday, April 12, 2007 The Jazz Gallery is a small place which offers the audience intimacy in a low key setting. Although Miles Okazaki's album Mirror has been available for a while, this gig was for its official release. The lineup is basically the same as the album, except that Morgan replaces Jon Flaugher. The combination of three high-pitched woodwinds is a bit unusual, but Knoche played ...