5

Chiemi Nakai: Transformation

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Chiemi Nakai: Transformation New York-based pianist Chiemi Nakai is a native of Japan who began her musical journey in training as a classical pianist but preferred the sounds of Afro-Cuban and other Latin music. Moving to the Big Apple in 1998, Nakai began her professional career performing and touring with international Latin music stars, formed her own group, Chiemi Nakai & the Afro-Cuban Jazz Project and then teamed up with Latin jazz percussionist Emmanuel Bizeau and recorded her debut album Bridges (Self-Produced, 2008). Transformation is her second album as leader containing all original compositions with a decidedly contemporary flair that also possess strong elements of the Latin sound, her preferred style.

For this album, Nakai keeps the band small preferring to record with in a standard piano trio format using several different musicians for the project. As a Latin music artist,it was only natural that she would draw on players of the style and as such, recruits Pedro Giraudo and young Luques Curtis sharing the duties on bass. On the drum set, Nakai uses Puerto Rican drummer Francis Benitez on three tracks and calls on Cuban drummer Mauricio Herrera—who provides a strong performance—filling in on the playful Afro-Cuban burner "I Will Meet You Again."

The music opens up in fiery fashion with the hard-driving Latin-tinged heater, "Volver" where the pianist makes an immediate impression on the keys with her quick right-hand finger-play. It's bassist Giraudo who follows with impressive bass work of his own on "The Flying Gray Cat" with drummer Benitez also weighing in on superb solo spaces. The pianist goes it alone with a delicate solo performance on the title track "Transformation 1," displaying a bit of her classical training on a beautiful non-Latin piece of music that helps define the album.

The short program ends on the appropriately-titled "Heaven Is Here," helping to document one of the better trio sessions around today. Japanese pianist Chiemi Nakai is a sensational pianist and composer by any definition who—with Transformation, her second effort—makes a successful transformation from a Latin-genre star to an up and coming contemporary jazz pianist on the move. No question about the music, it's terrific. Unfortunately, with only a handful of tunes barely qualifying as an EP, one is left wanting much more than what is offered.


Track Listing: Volver; The Flying Gray Cat; I Will Meet You Again; Transformation 1; Heaven Is Here.

Personnel: Chiemi Nakai: piano; Pedro Giraudo: bass; Francis Benitez: drums; Luques Curtis: bass (3); Mauricio Herrera: drums (3).

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Mt. Crushmore" CD/LP/Track Review Mt. Crushmore
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Reinvented" CD/LP/Track Review Reinvented
by Jim Olin
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "Cosmic Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Adventure
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Subtle Energy" CD/LP/Track Review Subtle Energy
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!