Art Hirahara: Noble Path

From the relaxed, sly sense of phrasing on the engaging opener, an original called “I’m OK” that resonates with the old-school appeal of a Tin Pan Alley chestnut, Noble Path sounds like the work of a seasoned veteran-or at least a precocious talent capable of an experienced pro’s taste and grace. At 39, pianist-composer Art Hirahara is somewhere in between: He’s been around but is only beginning to make his mark on New York’s jazz scene. Judging by his impressive debut as a leader, he’s already made significant inroads. With Yoshi Waki on bass and Dan Aran on drums, Hirahara conjures up pleasant conversations on originals like “Stood Down,” the waltz-time “Ebb and Flow” and the briskly swinging title track. The trio also turns in classy interpretations of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma,” Duke Ellington’s “Isfahan” and Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.”

Originally Published