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Yoko Miwa Trio: Keep Talkin’ (Ocean Blue Tear)

A review of the Boston-based pianist's fourth album with her trio

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Yoko Miwa Trio, Keep Talkin'
The cover of Keep Talkin’ by the Yoko Miwa Trio

The hard thing about Yoko Miwa is that she makes it sound so easy. It isn’t just that the Boston-based pianist, a longtime instructor at Berklee, keeps her harmony elegantly consonant, and her improvised lines tunefully logical; she also plays with such a big, classically-informed sound that even the rough bits in her music, like the dense, bluesy chords in her version of Mingus’ “Boogie Stop Shuffle,” somehow sound … pretty.

Not that there’s anything wrong with pretty, but it’s not a quality that the jazz intelligentsia much values. Ahmad Jamal’s great trio recordings were sniffed at for sounding too much at home in the cocktail lounge, and even some of Oscar Peterson’s work was dismissed for being too beautiful.

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J.D. Considine

J.D. Considine has been writing about jazz and other forms of music since 1977. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Musician, Spin, Vibe, Blender, Revolver, and Guitar World. He was music critic at the Baltimore Sun for 13 years, and jazz critic at the Globe and Mail for nine. He has lived in Toronto since 2001.