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Shunichi Yanagi Trio: Slope
Jazz pianist Shunichi Yanagi’s Slope is his second trio release, a 2015 followup to his 2012 debut Bubble Fish. The trio explores fresh territory in the jazz, rock, and light groove moods which vary from track to track. Each member has a clean touch with a sense of drama in creating excitement, somewhat like a movie or video game soundtrack at times.
The opening notes of Slope establish a delicate frame that quickly moves into a modern rock-styled beat, showcasing how this trio tends to move between jazz pop, rock, and light-as-a-bubble tenderness. Leading the trio as the primary composer, Yanagi orchestrates a progressive style, and his own playing is decorated with repeated arpeggios and densely looped patterns packed together like a woven carpet.
Some tunes like the grunge of the opener “I Can’t Fly” and the sad ballad “Song of Do” are solidly modern, reminiscent of the great jazz trio EST. Other catchy songs like “Yudachi” and “Y’s Swing” feature graceful bossa rhythms and weightless swing patterns with a comfortable ambience, and the ballads “Silence and You” and the solo piano track “B.E.” paint serene and spacious musical landscapes. The final two tracks on the album are highlights as well: the wild spirals and chaotic webs of “Ame to Muchi” and the majestic “Nagai Yumei” both leave a strong impression as the album reaches the end.
Slope by Shunichi Yanagi Trio
Shunichi Yanagi - piano
Motoi Kanamori - bass
Masatsugu Hattori - drums
Released in 2015 on GoodNessPlus Records as GNPR-1148.
Japanese names: Shunichi Yanagi 柳隼一 Motoi Kanamori 金森もとい Masatsugu Hattori 服部正嗣
Audio and Video
Excerpt from "I Can't Fly", the first track on this album: