Earthwards is that musical happy place where artistic emotion and harmonic synergy collide with the end result a debut release of incredible depth and texture.
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
Yuto Kanazawa is a Berklee graduate. I should have seen it coming...I have had the distinct pleasure of reviewing what in my estimation may be the cream of the crop of improvisational guitar releases for 2013. Make room for one more, Yuto Kanazawa unleashes his prolific talent with twelve original compositions not to mention a stellar cameo from Kurt Elling to seal the deal for an artist whose fresh approach and technical proficiency are simply ridiculous.
This pianoless ensemble gives way to an amazing free flowing harmonic exploratory. While most debut releases are somewhat "one note" in presentation, Kanazawa shifts his harmonic flow to create organic sonic soundscapes within each composition. It is the unique gift to pull from deep within himself that makes Yuto Kanazawa far more than the latest hotshot to come out of Berklee but instead allows him to lay legitimate claim as one of the more exciting new shooters in the world of modern jazz guitar.
While vocalist Kurt Elling lends that all important air of credibility to this ambitious debut release, clarinet virtuoso Felix Pekli add an eclectic ambiance for an ethereal ebb and flow that artists twenty years Kanazawa's senior strive for and more often than not miss. Mario Castro is rock solid on Tenor Sax while the rhythm section is rounded off with Jonathan Pinson on drums and Zwelakhe-Duma Bell le Pere on acoustic bass and it is this rhythmic pulse that provides a textured counterpoint to Kanazawa's clean angular lines on guitar.
There is that zen like balance of simplicity and complexity that makes Earthwards engaging and a release you will find yourself coming back to time and again. Much like the well written resume for recent graduates, Earthwards is sure to leave you longing for more! A stunning release!
Tracks: Earthwards; Floating Twice; Desert Front; Pavane; Truth & The Abstract Blues; Opener; The Ocean; A Dream Of You; Three; Eli; Pinwheel: Truth & The Abstract Blues (Featuring Kurt Elling).
Personnel: Yuto Kanazawa: Guitar, Compositions; Zwelakhe-Duma Bell le Pere: Acoustic Bass; Jonathan Pinson: Drum Set; Mario Castro: Tenor Sax (1,3,7,9); Felix Pekli: Clarinet (2,4,6,11) Bass Clarinet: (4,8); Kurt Elling: Vocals (12).
The Ocean from Earthwards via You Tube