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Released last month, this is the American recording debut of a 17 year-old pianist performing nine original compositions with his trio. Long a child prodigy, Takashi (Matsunaga) first played professionally two years ago with the noted Arrow Jazz Orchestra in Japan.
In a word, this young musician appears to have absorbed the entire vocabulary of mainstream jazz piano trios of the modern era. That is not meant as a demeaning remark. It is difficult to single out a single influence in that there is an amalgam of styles and moods. The liner notes make reference to similarities to both Chick Corea and Michel Petrucciani—and while I can understand the similarities, I also hear a dozen others.
The opening track, "Southern Cross," originally was written as Takashi's prelude to Corea's "Spain," I hear a lot of the style that Jacky Terrasson displayed upon his mid-'90s breakthrough on Blue Note. On the title tune, "Storm Zone," he literally personalizes the feeling of a typhoon at sea with dazzling chording, aided by the propulsive percussion of drummer Junji Hirose and Yasukagawa's lifeline on bass. As far as the elements battling a man-made surface vessel, you can literally hear it during this performance. Takashi also knows how to build a pretty ballad performance, as with "The Do-Ton-Bori River" and "The Doorway to Dreams," which almost seems like another pianist.
Track Listing: Southern Cross, Moko-Moko, New Morning, The Do-Ton-Bori River, Jungle Song, The World in Sorrow, Storm Zone,
The Doorway to Dreams, Blues for Whales
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach. I fell in love with it. I wondered around until the owner (Pedro Soto) asked if I needed help. He then introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and the rest is history. I walked out of the store with my first jazz recording: Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street.