Monday, April 20, 2009

Miles Okazaki - Mirror (Self Released, 2009)

I took a chance on this album after reading about it in the Downtown Music Gallery's newsletter. What originally caught my eye was the presence of one of my favorite saxophone players, Chris Potter. Little did I know that Potter guests on only one track, but that is OK because the rest of the album is very good too - interesting compositions and textures and great playing are found throughout. Okazaki plays guitar, and wrote all of the compositions (and also did the amazing artwork on the disc and notes.) He is accompanied by David Binney, Miguel Zenon, Chris Potter (1 track!) on saxophones and Christof Knoche on sax and bass clarinet, Jon Flaugher bass and Dan Weiss on drums. The music is quite nice and consistently engaging with saxophones and occasional bass clarinted weaving around guitar bass and drums. On "Howl", Okazaki lays down some choppy funk with Zenon following with a fluid and graceful solo. "Halfway" starts with gentle acoustic guitar, building to a lullaby with the band with Knoche breaking free for a subtle bass clarinet solo, later switching to soprano saxophone. "Momentum" has a powerful Zenon solo, and then "Canon" starts with some interesting percussive playing before evolving into a rapid fire David Binney solo that is very exciting. I liked this album quite a bit, it is well played and thoughtful modern jazz performed by very talented musicians. Apparrently this album was released by a small Italian label in 2006 before being re-released by Okazaki himself this year. Hopefully it will get some more attention this time around.
Mirror - amazon.com

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