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Top Customer Reviews
Considering Onishi's role as pianist, it's true that she's less prominent here than on her other recordings. But I take this to be a matter of careful choice on her part.
From the bars of festive percussion that open the album, she's implicitly emphasizing her roll as composer-arranger for a boistrous and highly collaborative ensemble. As such, the piano's place is reduced in scope from its role in Onishi's sizzling trio outings. To assert that the pianist has lost her "sharpness" and clarity is to overlook the achievement that is *Baroque*, her most elaborate and artistically unified release to date.
The spirit of mid-'60s Mingus hovers over all, fueling more than the two direct nods to his work ("Meditations" and "Flamingo"). While it would be unfair to say that melody takes a backseat in Onishi's playing, I would say that she's always been *most* driven by a love of rhythm and dynamics, and that's certainly the case here. As such, the playing that the previous reviewer labels "sickening" repetition strikes me as nothing more than moments of hyper-rhythmic melodic stasis, groove rather than riff.
Onishi's exuberance surges through her own instrument and every member of her top-flight band, which includes three horns and (count 'em) two basses. You can *hear* the joy these players take in giving life to this at-times complicated material, letting loose with flair and reining in tight for every change.
I've been spinning this disc for two or three weeks now, and I keep hearing more. In fact, I'd go so far as to recommend the whole album just for the vision of peppy tenderness that is the opening 90 seconds of "Mother's (Where Johnny Is)". Warms me to the core.
I should point out that Onishi's American all-star band-mates James Carter, Nick Payton, and Wycliffe Gordon, make the album great, even if Onishi were not there. Their solos are consistently brilliant throughout. The other thing to mention is that like all of Onishi's albums, studio or live, this one (studio) is generous. It's full 74 minutes include five extended pieces that will just blow you away. Also, don't worry about the 4-star reviewer's assertion that because the band is a septet, there is less Onishi piano than on her trio albums. Of course. But Onishi is obviously in charge of this band, and includes plenty of her own piano playing on each track. She says on You-tube that she is in the rhythm section, but she is definitely not in the background. Also, don't worry about the 4-star reviewer's feeling that Onishi's piano may not emphasize melody. It's not so. I don't think she is capable of playing her piano without melody, no matter how fast her fingers move.
On to the tracks: "Tutti" , "The Mother's (Where Johnny Is)", and "The ThreePenny Opera" are written by Onishi.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was my first Junko Onishi and I was so excited I could scream. What an astonishing talent. This is the most economical Onishi and should be heard by EVERY jazz loverPublished 17 months ago by D. Kresh
Great pianist that ranks with the best of them. And she's just beginning to make her mark.Published 18 months ago by Arthur from CNY