Joyful notes flow effortlessly from pianist Yuya Wakai as he confidently opens his solo piano album Images.

His catchy exuberance is on display as he flies colorfully through chords reminiscent of Keith Jarrett’s fluid style. On ballads such as the charming “Easy To Love” and heartfelt “Over The Rainbow”, Wakai plays with a loving touch.

Different sides of standard jazz and solo piano are portrayed among the eleven tracks. Exciting drama builds with a rock-ish, upbeat “Better Days Ahead” (Pat Metheny) and a pop exploration of “Great Day” (Paul McCartney) which evokes music Brad Mehldau might offer. A moving cover of a Japanese animation theme, “Aimo Tori No Hito” is included, played in a sad yet hopeful mood with deep meaning.

Related to the album title (and perhaps also alluding to Debussy’s classical work for piano), Wakai’s own classical exploration “Afterimages” tells a dreamlike story, painting a canvas with vivid abstract modernism. Finally, the pianist closes the album gently with “Duke Ellington’s Sound Of Love”, played like a soft lullaby.

Images by Yuya Wakai

Released in 2013 on Mikorin Music as MM-002.

Japanese Names: Yuya Wakai 若井優也

Audio and Video

Excerpt from the opening track on this album, "There Will Never Be Another You":

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Apr 26, 2018 (Updated May 18, 2022)