Peter Rutenberg reviews Yuko Mabuchi debut on Yarlung Records

Review: Yuko Mabuchi, piano; Del Atkins, bass; Bobby Breton, drums 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 Continue Reading →

Review: Yuko Mabuchi Trio Concert

by Robert H. Levi Senior Associate Editor at Large, Positive Feedback Yuko Mabuchi plays the ivories with the touch of an angel and the understanding of an artist many times her young age. She is backed by seasoned musicians with strong drive plus an acute sense of playing with and not over the pianist. This is Yarlung’s third jazz album recorded like you wish all performances were recorded: listening is just like being there. All that’s missing here is the expensive tickets and sticky floor! The selection of mostly standards and stand-outs is delightful and hard to leave. I liked every one of them, particularly the All The Things You Are, Take The A Train, Satin Doll Medley and St. Thomas, a Sonny Rollins classic. The Japanese Medley was hauntingly gorgeous and intriguing. I played it twice in my first listening pass. The album is all about Yuko Mabuchi and Continue Reading →

New Year’s Eve Concert at Hesperia Hall

Hall members welcomed in the New Year with another in a series of New Year’s Eve concerts organized by resident Bob Attiyeh and Yarlung Records.  This year’s offering swerved away from previous concerts when, following a short medley of songs played on the Renaissance pipes by Adam and Rotem Gilbert, the stage was turned over to jazz pianist Yuko Mabuchi.  She started off with a jazz arrangement  of three Japanese songs and then charmed us with Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are “and a pair of Duke Ellington numbers, “Take the A Train” and “Satin Doll.” Bassist Ilai Gilbert and keyboard player and Master of Ceremonies Billy Mitchell then joined Yuko with a rousing cover of “Route 66” with vocals by Billy and the audience. Dancing broke out, and from there the concert was in full swing. A base solo by Ilai in a Sonny Rawlins tune was followed Continue Reading →