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Misako Kano: Breakthrew

Among the pleasures of listening to pianist Kano is the intimacy with which she conveys her musical ideas-each note and every musical turn of a phrase deliberately delivered between the beat. Even the most fleeting piano runs on “Waltz for Rachel” and “Breakthrew”-a wistful ballad that provides the most effective forum for Kano’s expansive abilities-are restrained, yielding in favor of style and substance.

The quartet, which also includes bassist Ron McClure, drummer Jeff Williams, and alto saxophonist/flutist Thomas Chapin (who died of leukemia within months of the recording), are paragons of dependability, each providing the requisite amount of tastefulness and tenacity throughout. Kano skillfully interprets “Freezing Drizzle,” arranging the melodies like puzzle pieces. “Bath Talk” emerges as the most edgy of the 11 compositions (seven of which are written by Kano) and it is here, when she shifts the group’s rhythmic perspective, that they are most compelling.

Originally Published