June 1997

Junko Onishi Trio
Live at The Village Vanguard 2
Blue Note Records

This is a follow up release of additional material from the May 1994 concerts at the Village Vanguard by the 20-something piano sensation, the first volume having been released in 1995 to wide attention.

Onishi is a master of the post-bop piano, playing with speed and command. She is also characterized by a heavy-handed, propulsive approach.

The album is a traditional piano trio setting. For these concerts, she appeared with new rhythm section mates, bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Herlin Riley, but they must have got their act together during the week at the club, for their playing is tight and assured.

Being a live album, it includes only five pieces, all lengthy treatments, of jazz compositions "House of Blue Lights" and "Brilliant Corners," two standards, and a Japanese tune, "Ringo Oiwake." On the repertory pieces, Onishi plays stirringly but adds nothing new, while the Japanese song runs over 20 minutes long, including extended bass and drum solos. The length of these trio tracks might be great, depending on your point of view.

Originally published in June 1997
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