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Miki Kono: Are You Married

Miki Kono served as producer, leader, pianist on Are You Married…, the Japan resident’s second American release. She also was the composer of eight of its 11 tunes (the others being “Air on the G String,” “Rhapsody in Blue” and J. J. Johnson’s “Lament”). Working with her is the consummate bassist Rufus Reid and the in-demand Carl Allen on drums. Altoist Hiromi Masuda adds tonal contrast on four tracks, contributing cool but feeling-filled improvisations somewhat reminiscent of 1950s Bud Shank.

Kono plays rhythmically relaxed solos in a conventional, mainstream modern style-her favorite pianist is Hank Jones-personalized by frequent employment of a quick triplet figure just ahead of the beat that sounds as if it owes more to her classical background than to her jazz experience. Indeed, the classical training comes to the fore in the first part of the Bach, which receives the traditional treatment, in “Rhapsody in Blue,” most of which is performed in solo concert style, and in her own wistful “Lullaby for Benjamin,” a gentle solo recital.

Originally Published