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Chie Imaizumi became involved with music when she was four and began playing electric organ. She switched to piano at eighteen, and later in 2001 while at Berklee she moved to composing.
This recording came about after she gave Greg Gisbert a demo tape. He was taken in by her music, suggested she record it for Capri, chose the musicians, rehearsed, got the musicians into the studio and finished the recording in a day.
Imaizumi sets up "A Change for the Better on a floating air of piano and brass that flirts with the melody before it opens up and prances into the open. The rhythm is buoyant and the theme wraps itself around the beat. Gary Smulyan has a juicy solo on the baritone saxophone, and as can be expected, he pulls out a load of ideas. Gisbert turns up the heat, his phrasing on the trumpet stimulating radiance.
The chart is leaner on "Lonely. Mike Abbott evokes a warm ambience on the guitar with a judicious economy of notes. Gisbert picks up the melancholic thread and cuts into a deeper vein gently pushing at the boundaries. "Round and Round, another happy tune, takes off from bop. The main protagonists are Gisbert and Smulyan. Gisbert has first go and lets loose a slew of rich harmonic notes, giving Smulyan the opening for a beefy venture. The two work well in tandem and the exchanges between them here are the highlight of the record. However, "Another Day is a sappy ballad, the saving grace being John Gunther, whose voice on the alto sax is full of passion and feeling.
In the overall context, this is a promising debut that bodes well for the future.
Track Listing: A Change for the Better; The More the Merrier; Unfailing Kindness; Lonely; Round and Round; Adversity; Another Day.
Personnel: Greg Gisbert: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ron Miles: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Gunther: alto and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet; Gary Smulyan: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Alex Heitlinger: trombone; Mike Abbott: guitar; Jeff Jenkins: piano, Hammond B3; Mark Simon: bass; Paul Romaine: drums; Manavihare Mimi Fiaindratovo: percussion; Jeremy Ragsdale: vocals.