Art music from two musician artists, N.40° is sweet and stimulating, mellow and manic, alternating between states on this compelling album. The emotive trumpet-and-piano duo of Shinpei Ruike and George Nakajima delivers atmospheric standards as well as boundary-pushing free improvisations. With moments of both comfortable and experimental jazz, the pieces alternate from limpid and romantic to free and offbeat wild abandon; fun improvisational pieces are placed like splashes of color between beautiful jazz songs (“The Nearness of You”, “Pure Imagination”, “Alone, Alone and Alone”).

The album contains 16 songs, an engaging mix of standards and original tunes. Seven shorter solo improvisations (1-2 minutes apiece) of piano or trumpet are found among the fuller, composed songs, providing interesting breaks of splashy free expression to the overall album experience.

Nakajima’s skillful piano provides the cool rhythmic and harmonic underpinning with a sensitive, fun touch, while Ruike’s mysterious and breathy trumpet calls to mind the famous Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko at times with its skillfully edgy and elastic sounds.

N.40° by Shinpei Ruike & George Nakajima

Released in 2014 on Apollo Sounds as APLS-1403.

Japanese Names: Shinpei Ruike 類家心平 George Nakajima 中嶋錠二

Audio and Video

Excerpt from "The Nearness of You", which opens this album:

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Feb 12, 2019