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Album Review

After some 13 years living in the U.S. (New York City) after moving from Kyoto, Japan, acoustic pianist Eri Yamamoto's contemporary jazz style has not only come of age, but has fully blossomed, flowered, and is as beautiful as any mature rose. This trio recording — with veteran bassist David Ambrosio and longtime drummer Ikuo Takeuchi — shows Yamamoto's fluid melodic elements, sprawling vistas of color, and her innate common sense in stringing together lines of passion and cleanliness. While remaining in a modern vein, her piano style reflects classical training, post-bop sensibilities, and progressive ideals. All of the pieces are written by Yamamoto, motivated by nature and tempered by organic atmospheres. The title track is inspired by ambience surrounding the trees at Muir Woods near San Francisco, a nice waltz that plays out reserved and pretty, yet strong. "Magnolia" is a reverent song of hope and renewal in beats of five. "Wonder Land" is a cute three-note light funk child's song. Collectively, the trio digs in a bit more on the hyper repeat line in modified shuffle mode during the humorously titled "Bottled Water Princess," goes up and down like a quirky BMX rider for "Bumpy Trail," and struts through the gospel soul waltz "Dear Friends." But it is the opening cut "This Is an Apple" that reveals the heart of Yamamoto's style completely. Based on the English usage of "a' and "an" preceding an object, this lively spirit song reflects the musings of how to properly slot the little words in witty changes from 3/4, 6/8, and 7/8 time signatures. An excellent trio recording that stands apart from most others with similar instrumentation, Redwoods deserves a close listen for every smart jazz piano fan. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: Osaka, Japan

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Born in Osaka, Japan, Eri Yamamoto began playing classical piano at age three, and within five years was composing her own pieces. Throughout her education she continued to study piano, as well as viola, voice, and composition, but when she came to the U.S. for the first time in 1995 and by chance saw jazz pianist Tommy Flanagan play, she knew she had found the kind of music she truly wanted to pursue. Later that year she enrolled in the New School's Jazz and Contemporary Music program, although...
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Redwoods, Eri Yamamoto Trio
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