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Niran Dasika Quartet: Suzaku

Dan McClenaghan By

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Trumpeter Niran Dasika grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and worked professionally as a musician in Tokyo, Japan, during 2016 and 2017. But his music sounds European, like an ECM Records outing by a group out of Norway or Poland. Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and his New York Quartet come to mind with "Seek the Middle Ground," the gentle, deliberative opening cut of Dasika's CD release, Suzaku.

Like Stankos's group, Dasika's ensemble is a trumpet fronting a rhythm section. No need for the second horn—a saxophone—a grouping pioneered by alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, then trumpeter Miles Davis, and a hundred or so 1950s/1960s Blue Note Records.

"Todoroki Falls," ups the octane level; "21st Century Bakery" ups the ebullience level. Dasika's Japanese cohorts play with a relaxed elan. Pianist Sumire Kuribayashi sounds particularly free and full of surprises, spacious and pensive at times ("Seek The Middle Ground"), joyfully frenetic at others ("21st Century Bakery').

In spite of its title, "All Good Things" returns to Stanko-like pensiveness, with a hint of melancholy. Kuribayashi cascades pretty notes, like birds singing in a placid twilight. "Toyocho, Where I Keep Returning" brings a sense of sweet yearning into the mix, while "Freedom Hill" is an agitated beehive of sound, and "In A Nutshell" glows with a luminescent reverence, to close Suzaku.

Track Listing: I Seek the Middle Ground; Todoroki Falls; 21st Century Bakery; All Good Things; Toyocho, Where I Keep Returning; Freedom Hill; Hymn No. 6; In a Nutshell

Personnel: Niran Dasika: Trumpet; Sumire Kuribayashi: Piano; Takashi Sugawa: Bass; Shun Ishiwaka: Drums

Title: Suzaku | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Apollo Sounds Records

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