Unconditional Love is the 11th album from pianist Hideaki Hori and features his trio playing live at Nardis, a gem among Tokyo’s many respected and intimate jazz bars. Throughout this double album, the trio captures the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that this home-ground bar provides, all while creating top-notch jazz to delight the audience.
Unconditional Love features songs recorded live over three consecutive nights at Nardis. Presented on the two discs as “1st set” and “2nd set”, this arrangement gives the listener the feel of being a part of the in-house audience from the first song to the encore. The long-established trio’s playing is impeccable with high levels of musicianship and solidarity, eliciting joy and affinity from the audience.
The twelve songs include four originals by Hori (the funky “The Shell” and high-energy “Stop & Go” thrill the audience), some classic standards (“Up Jumped Spring”, “I Thought About You”, “My Favorite Things”) and choice modern picks from the likes of Cedar Walton, Keith Jarrett, and John Ellis (his “Bonus Round” is a special treat). Through these carefully chosen pieces, dynamics range from comfortable, mid-tempo swing, to fiery and up-tempo bop. For balance and breathing space, a few pretty ballads are included, including a fascinating version of Keith Jarrett’s “Blossom” which enraptures the club with a musical spell.
Hideaki Hori Trio: Unconditional Love
Released in 2014 on BQ Records as BQR-2064/2065.
(Names in Japanese: Hideaki Hori 堀秀彰 Yuhei Honkawa 本川悠平 Gaku Hasegawa 長谷川ガク)
Audio sample from the classic jazz standard “Our Love Is Here To Stay”, the third track on this album:
Another track from this album, John Ellis’s “Bonus Round”:
Another track from this album, the jazz standard “Up Jumped Spring”:
A personal photo from the first night of the live recording (taken at Nardis on May 4, 2014):
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