Friday, October 22, 2010

Chie Imaizumi

Chie Imaizumi (composer, arranger)
A Time Of New Beginnings (Capri Records)

In jazz, you don't seem to get many composer specific artists anymore. At least not in the mold of a Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington, Billy Stayhorn, Betty Carter or Marian McPartland. That's not to say that Japanese composer, Chie Imaizumi is in the same ballpark but she does present a new spin on the foundation and themes built by the aforementioned legends.

Chie Imaizumi has quickly established herself as an up and coming force on the composer scene in just under a decade. Building on her critically acclaimed debut, Unfailing Kindness (Capri), Chie returned to the studio with some wonderful new pieces and a stellar line up of musicians to interpret her vision on A Time Of New Beginnings (Capri).

New Beginnings for me is a lovely body of work that lends itself more to jazz new comers than those of you who may what something more cerebral or avant garde in nature. But dig deep and you will see that Imaizumi has the talent to continue produces exquisite compositions for years to come.

Where Unfailing Kindness was more a bebop/bluesy affair say in the realm of Ellington or Basie--New Beginnings stay in more of well crafted concept than spread of genres. The album delivers multiple layers of detailed structure as evident on "Information Overload"--a nice balance of big band implications and bebop traditions.

As I mentioned the musicians are stellar and really bring out the shining quality in Imaizumi's writing. On "Information Overload", Randy Brecker sounds fantastic. I'm not a big fan of Brecker either so I was really surprised when I looked at the liner notes for this record and noticed he was the spotlight on this track.

Another highpoint for me is "Many Happy Days Ahead" in which Steve Davis and Gary Smulyan dominate the piece with some starling affect. It's a lovely romantic piece in the style of the most intimate recordings of Dave Brubeck. The title track is another moment where you could easily hear Chie Imaizumi sound on jazz radio or at one of the many jazz festivals around the world. It's a bold piece with some magnificent playing by drummer Jeff Hamilton and Tamir Hendelman.

A Time Of New Beginnings is one of those warm additions that I think you sometimes need to break up the more intense, rough hues you may listen to on a daily basis. I definitely do. Trust me its not everyone's cup of tea but as I said if you listen closely and let it sink in--you hear a young artist painting a new picture on traditional canvas. Good stuff.

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