Moving Color is the second album from saxophonist Akihiro Yoshimoto and his quartet. With eight original songs drawn from his palette, he blends serious musical exploration and improvisation with elements of modernity, jazz tradition, and a bit of humor. Strength in composition and group cohesion is clear: the quartet plays confidently, as if they are disclosing a secret bit by bit, modestly exhibiting their skills yet playing with brimming energy and a locked-together sense of where they are going.

The tracks are solidly modern jazz tunes, with sizzling improvisation from Yoshimoto and pianist Choulai melodically laying out fiery, stimulating lines. There are a few moments of avant-guard exploration, where Sugawa’s bowed bass is used extremely effectively. A brooding atmosphere arises on “Nostalgic Farm” and especially “Ice Castle”, where a museum-like calm settles, foreboding and somewhat Nordic with its dark, chilling sound. There’s even a bit of goofy humor on two songs (“The Mystery of Onion Rings”, “Reminiscing About Banana Beer”), where Monkish exuberance and swing add a loose, jolly balance to the album.

The two longest tracks, “Sabaku No Akari” and “Water Drops”, build patiently and masterfully portray Yoshimoto’s thoughtful and edgy songwriting strength, refined in balancing honed compositions with space for group dynamics and spontaneity. These songs, along with “Possom”, summon a sense of Wayne Shorter’s modern quartet, exciting jazz powered by locomotive drive from drummer Ishiwaka and bassist Sugawa while Yoshimoto’s liquid tenor swings over the chords like a daredevil trapeze artist, flowing and moving colorfully in impressive patterns.

All compositions by Akihiro Yoshimoto.

Moving Color by Akihiro Yoshimoto Quartet

Released in 2015 on MOR Records as MOR-1001.

Japanese Names: Akihiro Yoshimoto 吉本章紘 Takashi Sugawa 須川崇志 Shun Ishiwaka 石若俊

Audio and Video

Excerpt from "Sabaku No Akari" (Desert Light), track #5 on this album:

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Aug 18, 2018