Pianist Harumi Nomoto’s 2014 release Virgo is a constellation of grooves, moods, and textures, boldly incorporating inter-genre approaches as piano jazz is woven with Eastern sounds, African rhythms, and hip-hop-influenced beats.

Virgo follows the pianist’s previous albums Another Ordinary Day (2002) and Belinda (2007), a trio of records that progressively show an expansion of creative vision and songwriting tact. Through arrangements honed at Japanese jazz clubs through prior years, the music was released to eager fans with this album of seven originals plus an arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s “Green Chimneys”, which gets a unique slow-and-low groove treatment here.

Aside from straight-ahead jazz, leader Harumi Nomoto and bandmates fretless electric bassist Ryoji Orihara and multi-genre jazz drummer Sohnosuke Imaizumi have perfected a jazzy, funky groove for modern jazz, apparent throughout on tracks such as “Green Chimneys”, the effervescently modern and angular “Hirari”, and the entrancingly catchy “Avocado” which kicks into a flashy high-gear for an impressive trio showpiece.

Exotic musical elements also surface on Virgo, as African music inspires the strong crowd-pleaser “Do Re Mi”, a joyfully bouncy tune with an upbeat bass and drum groove with fun breaks. Similarly, an adventurous mood arises on “Azurq”, mellow and modal, and evoking foreign vibrations in the vein of Yusef Lateef’s Eastern explorations.

Plenty of peaceful space is also offered and balances the energy well, with the tender ballad “Aru Hito No Koto” and two versions of the song “Rain”, an ode to the beauty of wet weather and contemplative moods.

Virgo by Harumi Nomoto Trio

Released in 2014 on Okra Record as MIKO-1009.

Japanese Names: Harumi Nomoto 野本晴美 Ryoji Orihara 織原良次 Sohnosuke Imaizumi 今泉総之輔 Maiko Sugawara 菅原牧子 Nao Sakamoto 坂本直

Audio and Video

Copyright © 2019 jazzofjapan.com
Apr 3, 2019 (Updated May 18, 2021)