Pianists Yukako Yamano and Yukari Inoue make music with two pianos on this mini-album of cheerful exuberance. Dubai Suite is a five-part composition by Yukako Yamano which reflects her appreciation for the exotic locale the music is named for. She recorded this album in anticipation of a late 2021 return trip to Dubai. Based in Tokyo and with frequent travels throughout America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, Yamano has also been to Dubai twice.

The pianist’s November 2020 trip to Dubai was her first overseas tour since the pandemic began. Although there were new hurdles like testing, quarantine, cancelations, and a great deal of uncertainty involved, it was a rewarding experience for the pianist, and she found an even deeper appreciation for traveling and sharing music with people around the world. With these impressions, Yamano created this suite in a burst of inspiration - including her instinctive decision to arrange the music for two pianos. Pianist Yukari Inoue, a popular, skilled, and in-demand pianist in the Tokyo jazz scene, was a natural choice for a musical partner on this album. Fortunately, the album was able to be recorded and produced in short order, and Yamano brought copies of the CD along with her on her second trip to Dubai in December 2021.

The album’s five tracks add up to a brisk 23 minutes and relay a narrative with the descriptive song titles “Hope”, “Reality”, “Run”, “Anxiety”, and “Victory”. The opening track sets up a bright prologue to adventure, and the next two shorter tracks capture the suite’s energy with the frolic and whimsey of a chase scene… or perhaps the fun of hurriedly preparing for travel and facing the realities of packing, scheduling, and racing to catch departures. Next, “Anxiety” delivers a slower, suspenseful atmosphere, and the closing track “Victory” returns to uptempo form with a springy rhythm making for toe-tapping positivity. Like other examples of Yamano’s music, the jazz feeling is permeated with a catchy lightness and shine often found in some J-pop styles.

I was finally able to get to Dubai. The exotic wind after a long absence, the beautiful city of Dubai… I was very happy to be welcomed by the people there.

November 2020 was my first overseas tour since Corona. I was worried, I had to take a PCR test, and it was very different from travel before Corona, but it was a very good experience. After all, I like traveling, I like music, and it’s great to be able to live and be together in this way. I’m glad I went. I created a song from my impressions. I made everything intuitively, and I don’t know why I decided on two pianos (laughs).

Dubai Suite by Yukako Yamano & Yukari Inoue

Released in 2021 on Yukako Yamano as YKCJ-0006.

Japanese Names: Yukako Yamano 山野友佳子 Yukari Inoue 井上ゆかり



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© Brian McCrory 2022
Jan 30, 2022