WBGO Radar

Miho Hazama: Time River

Time river Miho Hazama

For composer, arranger and pianist Miho Hazama the inspiration for her music draws extensively from her former life in Tokyo and her present life in New York City. So we may fully absorb what she feels, Hazama's new recording, "Time River", features her 13 piece m_unit, a hybrid big band/chamber ensemble with special guests saxophonist Joshua Redman and accordianist Gil Goldstein.

Of the eight originals on this record Hazama says the album's title track came from the fact that although three years since her last recording, "Journey To Journey", seemed like a long time, motion nevertheless flowed like a rapid river with her busy schedule of leading her big band in New York, and playing and arranging for tv shows, movies and other artists in Japan.

These time conflicts inform the music you'll hear on "Time River".

The joyous "Dizzy Wildflower" was inspired by African dance music, and a nice vehicle for trumpeter Mathew Jodrell.

Gil Goldstein's significant contributions can be found in the music of Gil Evans, Bobby McFerrin, Esperanza Spalding and Michael Brecker, to name just a few. It was Goldstein's work on Brecker's chamber-jazz album "Wide Angles", and a video clip of his "A World Accordian" that inspired Hazama to reorchestrate her "Under The Same Moon" for him. Goldstein expresses yet again why he's held in such high regard.

The title track features Joshua Redman on both soprano and tenor saxophone. After seeing him at festivals over the years Miho says it "was a dream come true for him to play one of my compositions." Redman shines as the piece quietly builds to a flourishing finish.

Captivated by strong melodies you'll hear on this recording, Hazama's pieces "Introduction" and "Fugue" also bring out her classical training, highlighted by her piano work on these two. Her intent to bridge classical and jazz worlds also gets a strong showing.

Throughout "Time River" you'll feel the drama and flowing nuance Hazama and her musical friends set out to express. With each listen something new strikes you, gaining your attention for this project and your respect for the artist and her vision, drawing on many musical sources to create her engaging and original sound.

"Time River" comes out October 16th from Sunnyside Records. Miho celebrates her new recording at The Blue Note Club in Tokyo, Japan on October 15th.

  - Gary Walker, WBGO music director

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