Big in Japan

Righteous Girls in Japan 2016

I am very proud of flutist Gina Izzo and pianist Erika Dohi. Their duo, known as Righteous Girlsperforms twice in Japan this week. They are presenting their Gathering Blue project, recorded on New Focus Records, at Horie Arte1-18-17 Kita-Horie, Osaka, Japan, on June 3rd and 5th at 7:30 PM.

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Gathering Blue features composers Ambrose Akinmusire, Andy Akiho, Dave Molk, Jonathan Ragonese, Pascal Le Bouef, Randy Woolf, and Vijay Iyer. Gina and Erika have also included my duo “For Milton:” an homage to Milton Babbitt that mixes serial outer sections with a slice of swing in the middle.

I’m excited to have my music visit Japan: I hope to get there myself someday!




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Anders Jormin – “Trees of Light”

Trees of Light

ECM Records

Lena Willemark voice, fiddle and viola
Anders Jormin double bass
Karin Nakagawa 25-string koto

Out this week on ECM Records, Trees of Light brings together traditional music-making from Sweden and Japan with jazz bass improvisations. This seemingly unlikely fusion works beautifully. Each member of the trio retains their own stylistic signatures and technical approach, yet the resulting colloquy finds many musical meeting places.

On “Lyöstraini,” a propulsive bass groove, diaphanous glissandos from the koto, and Willemark’s gently undulating singing craft a beguiling ambience. Partway through, roles reverse, Jormin takes a forceful solo, leaving the rhythm to be handled by koto and pizzicato fiddle. When Willemark’s singing returns, it is energized, full throated, and ebullient. “Dröm” begins with Willemark singing solo. Only gradually does the instrumental tapestry which surrounds her emerge. Eminently and memorably tuneful, Willemark’s vocals are abetted by shimmering strummed chords and a lithe solo by Nakagawa. Jormin combines walked lines with deftly employed plucked harmonics. “Urbanus” shows a more experimental side of the trio, with howls, whispers, shouts, and dolphin-cry glissandos pitted against dissonant breaks in the midst of a walking line from Jormin.

While this trio could be a single album experiment, the wide range of sonic combinations they display on the material here makes one hope that Trees of Light is just the beginning of this collaboration.