Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Nobuki Takamen: The Nobuki Takamen Trio

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Nobuki Takamen is, in all probability, the best jazz guitarist Japan has ever produced. Nowadays he lives in New Jersey but tours his homeland regularly. His playing is marked by good taste and sensitivity. He is a highly inventive guitarist, his runs and progressions never quite going where you expect them to go but always making perfect sense.

He doesn't overburden his playing with technique, staying accessible to a wide range of listeners. He names his influences as Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Pat Martino, George Van Eps, Jimi Hendrix and—somewhat strangely—Akira Takasaki, of the Japanese glam rock band Loudness. As usual, Takamen is accompanied on this, his seventh album, by fellow countrymen, Toshiyuki Tanahashi on bass and Naoki Aikawa, drums.

Ten of Takamen's own compositions are featured. Mostly these are in honour of the countries visited on his last European tour. One of them—the Latin-tinged "A-Tico-Ta"—was named by his four-year-old daughter and features special guest Akhito Yoshikawa on percussion. It's highly attractive, light and airy, one of the best numbers on the CD.

The album opens with a fast bop piece, "The Circle Game," on which Takamen goes to town, demonstrating his fabulous technique. His solo is followed by one from Aikawa on drums, backed by Tanahashi, before the song returns to its theme. It's followed by the wistful ballad, "Helsingin Taivas," Finnish for "Helsinki Sky," conjuring up summer nights when the sun never truly sets.

"3AM" is a gentle up-tempo piece with a very catchy theme—at times there is almost a country feel to it. Takamen's solo is masterly, visiting all manner of places while never completely losing touch with the melody.

"Wonderful Days" speaks for itself, the days concerned long and lazy—perhaps Scandinavian? Wes Montgomery's influence is to the fore, though without recourse to the master's trademark use of octaves. "Blues Alberta" is the album's only blues, laid-back but solid, featuring some fast runs by the leader in his solo, which is followed by one from Tanahashi, interspersed with tasteful drumming by Aikawa.

Takamen's rock influences come out in "25," which is fast and (almost) flashy. "Piece For Peace" is very different, far more reverent and reminiscent of Oscar Peterson's civil rights anthem "Hymn To Freedom."

Track Listing: The Circle Game; Helsingin Taivas (Helsinki Sky); 3AM; Fox’s Tail; Wonderful Days; A-Tico-Ta ; Blues Alberta; Sjećanja za Pamćenje (Memories to Remember); 25; Piece for Peace.

Personnel: Nobuki Takamen: guitar; Toshiyuki Tanahashi: bass; Naoki Aikawa: drums; Akihito Yoshikawa: percussion (6).

Title: The Nobuki Takamen Trio | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Nobuki Takamen Trio

The Nobuki Takamen...

Self Produced
2018

buy
Live in Japan

Live in Japan

Self Produced
2016

buy
Solo Guitar

Solo Guitar

Self Produced
2015

buy
Live at the Iridium

Live at the Iridium

Summit Records
2011

buy
From Now On

From Now On

What's New Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Cuarteto Europa CD/LP/Track Review
Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections CD/LP/Track Review
Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Intelsat CD/LP/Track Review
Intelsat
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2018
Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read "Return to the Future" CD/LP/Track Review Return to the Future
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 7, 2018
Read "Experiments on Human Subjects" CD/LP/Track Review Experiments on Human Subjects
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2018
Read "Outsidethebox" CD/LP/Track Review Outsidethebox
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 26, 2018
Read "La Fenice" CD/LP/Track Review La Fenice
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 6, 2018
Read "Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus" CD/LP/Track Review Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus
by Jim Worsley
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018