Pianist Miki Hayama creates superb modern jazz on Wide Angle, exploring powerful, edge-of-your-seat quickness and other dimensions. This album, her third as a leader, received awards from the Japanese jazz magazine Swing Journal in 2009 and 2010.
With the album title perhaps being a nod to the McCoy Tyner-ish playing that Hayama excels at, the music is full of various moods. The trio thrives on high-energy improvisation at quick tempos, highlighting the pianist’s skill at playing with angular patterns and leaping bursts, climbing and swirling like musical puzzle pieces falling into place. At mid- and slower tempos, her graceful playing shows an impressive command of modern jazz piano and smartly-constructed arrangements.
Other than straight-ahead locomotion, other angles are explored: wisps of fantasy a la Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock-esque mystery (“Flying Horses”, “Sound of Migration”), relaxing moods (“Who Cares”, “A Time For Peace”), some two-handed doubling on the odd-metered “Freight Trane”, and a mesmerizing vocal/piano shadowing adding a poignant deepness to the beautiful “Dismissed”.
Leader: Miki Hayama · 早間美紀 · http://www.mikihayama.com/
- Miki Hayama – piano
- Kiyoshi Kitagawa – bass
- Victor Lewis – drums
Released in 2009 on ART UNION/@jazz.
Miki Hayama stretches out in this video from 2008 at a live bar in Tokyo playing the jazz standard “There Is No Greater Love”.
Here is a video of Miki Hayama playing on “Horizon”, one of the highlights on this album:
* Audio sample at top of page is an excerpt from the first track on the album, “What’s Next”.