Miyuki Moriya’s Cat’s Cradle from 2010 is modern jazz album from an alto sax quartet featuring engaging sounds and improvisation from exciting musicians. The allure of this album is deepened by the sax leader’s catchy originals, and listeners who are stimulated by angular jazz will be pulled into this music and want to return to these songs again and again.

Also distinguishing the sound is the edgy, metallic sound of the alto sax and the funky, crystalline drumming, with stylish planes of piano and guitar and gliding over the deeply full bass lines. Drummer Sohnosuke draws attention with a concentrated hip-hop energy driving the odd-meter songs, and, along with steady bass lines from Ikejiri, keeps the listener anchored even through unusual rhythms beyond standard swing patterns (see Sohnosuke’s Rin (2018) for similar sounds.)

Sharply-crafted jazz with a modern spark particularly identifies Moriya’s music, and with “Tuck Box”, “Matching Dice”, and the title track “Cat’s Cradle”, the sax player strives for originality by building riffs on challenging, odd-meters over which blistering improvisation can be laid down. These songs, as well as her sunny “Message” and soulful “Existence”, hit the bullseye at setting a mood, and are still favorites of Moriya’s fans today and often performed at live concerts to welcoming audiences. Balancing the energy are a few ballads as well, including a piano/sax duo on the emotive ballad “Just A Gigolo”, a melancholy goodbye wrapping up the album.

Cat's Cradle by Miyuki Moriya

Released in 2010 on Coume Music as DQC-565.

Japanese Names: Miyuki Moriya 守谷美由貴 Mamoru Ishida 石田衛 Kohei Kamuro かむろ耕平 Hiroshi Ikejiri 池尻洋史 Sohnosuke Imaizumi 今泉総之輔

Audio and Video

Excerpt from "Tuck Box", the first track on this album:

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Feb 17, 2020