Takeshi Asai plays piano as though a George Winston who listened to Aaron Copland, the Gershwins, and Bill Evans night and day. Choosing Pascal Combeau as bassist was a masterstroke as, when the guy solos, he manhandles his instrument and sets a very strong contrast beneath the pianist, filling out solid ground rich and loamy under Asai's sunshinier energetics. Drummer Maxime Legrand (also the CD's producer) often leans to a non-stop clatter, except in the rhapsodic balladic materials like Intro, that fills the environment from top to bottom so that one dwells within a complete sonic milieu…even though only three gents are architecting it.
Intro is interesting, an adagio that got breathless while melancholicly elegiac, suffered a fit of bliss and blues, and then just kept exhaling. I Remember the Castle picks up the tempo as though meditating on what should logically follow Intro, gamboling for nearly ten minutes. Asai keeps taking the platform higher and higher while Combeau and Legrand twist and turn all around him, everyone climbing a Jacob's Ladder of heady ascension.
My favorite cut is 12, and I can't quite say why. It comes off as though a classicalist composer had been writing and pondering late into the night, turned on the radio, and suddenly got hip to jazz, at first trying artfully to force the mode into constraints a bit too forbidding before hitting stride and just letting the two meld into each other. Again: the sort of thing George Gershwin would pen. Asai's right hand takes on the characteristics of a second bass guitar, Combeau beefing up behind it, and then the piece breaks back down into hoary elegance, returning the composer to his familiar terrain, now more enlightened. And it won't surprise you a bit when Le Crépuscule, 12 's follower, opens very Coplandesque with just a bit of Ives and then keeps on keeping on, a jazz classique processional with light New Age infusions (that Winston again!).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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