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Miles Okazaki: Trickster

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "The Calendar"

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 about celestial movements, and comes from the story of the Egyptian god "Thoth, a trickster who beat the Moon in a game of dice." Thus, celestial movements equate to a mid-tempo groove, etched by drummer Sean Rickman's snare hits on top of the beat, contrasted by Okazaki and bassist Anthony Tidd's delicate phrasings, leading to a gradual ascension towards a perceived zenith. The musicians slowly build tension, abetted by Taborn's comping and Ozaki's intricately crafted single note patterns and fleet-fingered soloing, often countered by flickering flurries and the pianist's whirling chord clusters. They go for the gusto then lower the pitch during the coda. Ultimately, Okazaki's precision oriented approach to composition and execution offers a new spin on previously navigated routes.

Track Listing: Kudzu; Mischief Maker; Box in a Box; Eating Earth; Black Bolt; The West; The Calendar; Caduceus; Borderland.

Personnel: Miles Okazaki: guitar; Craig Taborn: piano; Anthony Tidd: bass; Sean Rickman: drums.

Title: Trickster | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

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