Yosuke Yamashita

COMPOSERS: Yosuke Yamashita
LABELS: Verve
WORKS: Spider
PERFORMER: Yosuke Yamashita (p), Cecil McBee (b), Pheeroan AkLaff (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 531 271-2
Since making its debut recording Kurdish Dance in 1992, Tokyo-born pianist Yosuke Yamashita’s New York trio has firmly established itself as one of the most consistently exciting and adventurous outfits in this music. Unsurprisingly for a musician whose earlier Japanese band was known as the ‘kamikaze trio’ for the way it eschewed all restraint, Yamashita approaches the up-tempo originals on this album – the teasing, Spanish-tinged ‘Revenge of Picasso’ and the unusual title track in particular – at full throttle, interspersing dazzling high-speed runs with crashing, almost free-jazz passages and startling splashes of percussive brilliance. At slower tempi, too, he enlivens an affecting tripping lyricism with bursts of fierce improvisation all the more effective for being so skilfully concealed. McBee and AkLaff, undoubtedly one of the finest rhythm teams in the business, are with the leader every step of the way, their mutual sensitivity almost telepathic. This album should be required listening for anyone who thinks piano-trio jazz is for cocktail lounges. CP

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