Pianist Miki Hayama creates superb jazz on Wide Angle, exploring powerful, edge-of-your-seat quickness with modern dimensions. This album is her third as a leader and received awards from the Japanese jazz magazine Swing Journal in 2009 and 2010.
With the album title perhaps being a nod to the angular McCoy Tyner-ish style of playing that Hayama excels at, the music is full of various moods. Hayama’s trio thrives on quick tempo and high-energy improvisation, a great platform for the pianist’s skill with rapid patterns and leaping bursts. Her agile solos are full of notes which seem to climb and swirl and fall into place like musical puzzle pieces. At mid-tempo songs and slower ballads, her graceful side shows an impressive command of modern jazz piano and smartly constructed arrangements.
In addition to straight-ahead locomotion, other angles are explored: wisps of fantasy ala Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock (“Flying Horses”, “Sound of Migration”), relaxing moods (“Who Cares”, “A Time For Peace”), some two-handed doubling on the odd-metered “Freight Trane”. The mesmerizing “Dismissed” lays out yet another dimension, where Hayama’s piano is at times doubled with her voice, a beautiful shadowing for poignant deepness.
Miki Hayama Trio: Wide Angle
Miki Hayama – piano
Kiyoshi Kitagawa – bass
Victor Lewis – drums
Released in 2009 on ART UNION/@jazz as ARTCD-114.
(Names in Japanese: Miki Hayama 早間美紀 Kiyoshi Kitagawa 北川潔)
Audio excerpt from the first track on the album, “What’s Next”:
Another track from the album, Tommy Flanagan’s “Freight Trane”:
Miki Hayama stretches out in this video from 2008 at a live bar in Tokyo playing the jazz standard “There Is No Greater Love”:
Miki Hayama playing a live version of “Horizon”, another highlight on this album:
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