Tetsuji Yoshida & Mikiko Nagatake Duo: Live At Knuttel House
Trumpeter Tetsuji Yoshida and pianist Mikiko Nagatake create new music in old town surroundings on 2021’s Live at Knuttel House. Yoshida’s original compositions make up the six songs for forty minutes selected from live performances at Knuttel art and live house. The modest venue is nestled in a working-class neighborhood in old Tokyo that seems to imbue the music with the charm and patina of the traditional surroundings. Yoshida’s conceptions skate around the borders of jazz, rock, and blues with hints of uniquely Japanese folk melodies, into which the talented pair freely incorporates traditional jazz forms.
The opening track “Kototoi-dori” is an immediate attention-grabber with a stark rhythm and sparse call-and-repeat melody, accompanied by a video of the performance and a quick tour of the surrounding neighborhood and street named in the title. This catchy song seems like it could also be the product of a stripped-down guitar band, a style also shared by track #4, “Stomach Elegy” with its brisk and exciting musical chase.
The remaining four tracks portray other aspects of the songwriting and the duo’s balance and taste. “Jackanapes” combines Latin rhythms with melancholy yearning, and “Inori” (prayer) conjures up a haunting ballad with rich emotion. Free jazz experimentation appears on “Iwaki No Yoru Wa Fukete” (late night in Iwake) with provocative simultaneous improvisation and standout solo piano playing from Nagatake.
The final track, “One Blues”, ends the album cheerily with evocatively muted trumpet and the swagger of blues piano grooves. As the musical statements conclude and the album winds down, the sounds of applause and gratitude from the musicians bring into focus how the nearby audience and community play an important part in the atmosphere and inspiration, a vital component of the music created in the moment.
Live at Knuttel House by Tetsuji Yoshida & Mikiko Nagatake Duo
Tetsuji Yoshida - trumpet
Mikiko Nagatake - piano
Released in 2021 on Yoshidamusic as NYAN-382.
Japanese names: Tetsuji Yoshida 吉田哲治 Mikiko Nagatake 永武幹子
Audio and Video
Excerpt from “Inori”, track #3 on this album: