Jazz pianist and composer Fumie Chiba’s Tip of Dream is a great example of modern jazz piano from Japan, displaying high-caliber technique and creative approaches to modern jazz composition.

Through the album’s eight tracks, Chiba plays with confidence and verve, showing shades of McCoy Tyner’s rapid abstractions, Bills Evans’ melodic sentimentality, and Mulgrew Miller’s well-rounded fluency and swinging groove.

The set starts off strong with “11th Door” which quickly demonstrates the control and power that this trio delivers. The performance is sleek and modern, at times aggressively powerful yet not lacking a sensitive touch and deep energy. From the attention-grabbing opening, the music moves into pretty ballads, lyrical sentimentality with modern flourishes, Herbie Hancock-style funky jazz, and finishes with a piano solo with balanced pop prettiness.

Along with the six original songs, Chiba’s reharmonizations and arrangements also demand attention: a slightly dark “Our Love Is Here To Stay” adds a mysterious, hypnotic twist to an old standard. In addition, a sharp re-interpretation of Ravel’s “Pavane For A Dead Princess” shows how beautifully classical music can be adapted to classy modern jazz.

Tip of Dream by Fumie Chiba Trio

  • Fumie Chiba - piano
  • Koichi Kuniwake - bass
  • Shigehito Kawamura - drums

Released in 2009 on TRL Music as TRL-0826.

Japanese Names: Fumie Chiba 千葉史絵 Koichi Kuniwake 国分航一 Shigehito Kawamura 川村成史

Audio and Video

Excerpt from "11th Door", the first track on this album:

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Dec 2, 2018