Yasumasa Kumagai’s Pray (2010) is a stylishly straight ahead affair, a cool and groovy collection of the pianist’s original tunes which melds modern jazz, soulful grooves, and gospel influences with his characteristic piano playing and original compositions.

On Pray, Kumagai’s trio opens with “Brotherhood”, setting up an atmospherically moody yet light and relaxed vibe. Other album highlights include his live-show favorite “Yellow Tail”, a well-developed modern jazz exciter, and “Choir’s Got Fired”, a laid-back groove with irresistibly catchy riffs and an album highlight. The music is influenced by modern jazz players like Robert Glasper as well as hip hop concepts and includes enough dashes of unexpected changes, odd meters and beats, honest sensitivity, and spicy dissonance to keep the album in regular rotation for a great J Jazz piano trio playlist.

Pray by Yasumasa Kumagai

Released in 2010 on Anturtle Tune as ANTX-4009.

Japanese Names: Yasumasa Kumagai 熊谷ヤスマサ Ryu Kawamura 川村竜 Kozo Komori 小森耕造

Audio and Video

Excerpt from "Choir's Got Fired", the fifth track on this album:

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Sep 1, 2022