by Peter Rutenberg
Yuko Mabuchi Trio’s new CD on Yarlung Records makes great listening! They play several jazz standards with strength and authority, each with distinct colors and approaches. Lush harmonies suggest a sense of fuller orchestration, in the same vein as Brahms’ piano works, while fluid rhythms refresh at every turn.
The trio exhibits consummate musicality and technique – with artful phrasing led by the pianist, a lyrical sensuousness in the bassist’s melodic counterpoints with the piano, and the drummer’s intelligent vocabulary and broad sweep tying it all together.
Three brief points exemplify these qualities: Take the “A” Train roars into Harlem and beyond, stylistically speaking; the Japanese folksong Sakura (Cherry Blossom) finds delicate color and nuance in Debussy-esque harmonies; and the Latin rhythm tropes of the opening track, What Is This Thing Called Love, return in full regalia in the fleet-footed and juicy fastidiousness of the closing track, the venerable St. Thomas.
Yuko Mabuchi Trio CD, YAR80161, available in North America October 6th, and internationally on October 2nd, 2017