PERFORMER: Yosuke Yamashita (p); Cecil McBee (b); Pheeroan akLaff (d) and Joe Lovano (ts)
CATALOGUE NO: POCJ-1135
The three Americans on this session are superb performers, adept in all branches of contemporary jazz, from straight-ahead to free playing, so to provide them with material which fully utilises their talents is something of an achievement. The most obvious influence on the pianist-leader is the torrential, abstract style of Cecil Taylor, but Yamashita’s playing also effortlessly incorporates everything from a Mose Allison shuffle to the delicacy of Bill Evans without slipping into either promiscuous magpie borrowing or brash pyrotechnics.
McBee and akLaff are perfect, subtle foils and Lovano is as huskily cultured as ever. The album is as fine a display of top-class musicianship, applied to as fascinatingly varied a set of compositions, as you’ll hear this year. Chris Parker