Emiko Voice x Suga Dairo: Phase 2

Vocalist Emiko Voice and pianist Dairo Suga perform jazz standards in non-standard ways on their 2009 release Phase 2~Twist & Shout~, a followup to their previous Phase 1 duo album from 2006. While the track listing is full of jazz favorites like “Summertime”, “Solitude”, and “Girl From Ipanema”, the standards are anything but ordinary as the music is reinvented in a one-take session with the multi-genre duo exploring different ways of interpreting these gems.

While Emiko Voice can deliver swingy cuteness and honey sweetness on mid-tempo swing and ballads with an alluringly soft style, she can also carve up bebop lines and turn corners expertly on odd-meter and breakneck-speed songs. On tracks like “Just One Of Those Things” and Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation” and “Yardbird Suite”, the vocalist tracks Parker’s original solos with vocalese and lets loose with bebop improvisation as well. Pianist Suga’s experience with free jazz and other genres comes into play as he veers and curves through the music, pushing boundaries with a sense of danger that makes it seem like the structure could come crashing down at any moment, yet holds fast masterfully.

Playful yet serious, the duo also covers mid-tempo and ballad tracks such as “Shiny Stockings”, “Solitude”, and “Every Time We Say Goodbye” with original and imposing atmospheres, where the vibrating piano strings and evocative vocals encompass the listener in a stimulating experience.

Released in 2009 on Cool Fool as CLFL-0003.

* Audio sample at top of page from “Confirmation”, the eighth track on the album.