Junko_onishi-fragile_span3
October 1999

Junko Onishi
Fragile
Blue Note Records

From the opening cascade of chords-big, fat Rhodesy chords tinged with tube distortion and wah-wah-we are reminded of the influence of Miles Davis' seminal experiments with rock elements in the late '60s. Is it homage to Miles, or a tribute instead to the "groove" thread that sells so many records for Scofield, Medeski, Martin & Wood, et al.? What emerges is a kind of twisted nostalgia-the program includes a cover of the Les McCann hit "Compared to What" (the vocal here handled by Peace) and Cream's "Sunshine of your Love." The schizy character of the recording is perhaps indicated by the drummer's decision to list both his "jazz" and "hip-hop" names: Ol Skool Jamz/Karriem Riggins. Reginald Veal plays bass and bass guitar behind the leader's keyboards, with Motohiko Hino and Tamaya Honda adding drums on two tracks each.

Originally published in October 1999
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