Read Jeff Wilson’s review of Yuko Mabuchi Trio in The Absolute Sound

If the eponymous debut album by the Yuko Mabuchi Trio can be seen as a coming out party, it’s hard to imagine the musicians squeezing anything more out of the event. The nearly hour-long set includes some well-known jazz standards, including a gorgeous On Green Dolphin Street and an exuberant romp through Sonny Rollins’ St. Thomas. During a solo piano medley, Mabuchi’s reconstruction of Take the “A” Train displays a fertile imagination and a confident left hand. A sly reading of Sara Bareilles’ Seriously shows Mabuchi’s ability to spot a pop song that translates nicely into the jazz idiom. Her interpretive skills also surface on a composition by TAS music reviewer Mark Lehman, Waltz Noir; here the trio uses a classical composition as a launch pad for some highly evocative noir jazz. If Mabuchi’s playing can be described as tasteful, economical, and lyrical, it should also be noted that her Continue Reading →

Andrew Quint reviews “James Matheson” for The Absolute Sound

Matheson: Violin Concerto, String Quartet, Times Alone. Music, Video and Downloads Yarlung Record’s program produced and financed by the musical philanthropists J and Helen Schlichting of Southern California, is an excellent introduction to the notable American composer James Matheson. Matheson, now in his mid-40s, wrote his Violin Concerto for Baird Dodge, principal second violinist of the Chicago Symphony — and once the composer’s roommate at Swarthmore College. All of Matheson’s music has a bold, cinematic flair. His writing for solo violin is highly idiomatic and virtuosic; the orchestral contribution is extravagantly colorful. Matheson employs an advanced tonal syntax and confidently cites other styles as he makes his argument: the central Chaconne of the Concerto references the slow movement from Mahler’s Sixth Symphony and the energetic finale strongly suggests bluegrass. Esa-Pekka Salonen was on the podium leading the CSO for the world premiere recorded here in December of 2011. Dodge joined Continue Reading →