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Pi Recordings

Miles Okazaki - Thisness - Import CD

Miles Okazaki - Thisness - Import CD



Contemporary Jazz

April 15, 2022


Regular price ¥2,690 JPY
Regular price Sale price ¥2,690 JPY
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Catalog No.:PI93

JAN/ISBN: 808713009323

Number of Discs: 1

Country/Region of Manufacture: Import


Miles Okazaki


Thisness is the third Pi Recordings outing from guitarist/composer Miles Okazaki and his Trickster quartet featuring keyboardist Matt Mitchell, drummer Sean Rickman, and bassist Anthony Tidd. Whereas 2019s The Sky Below offered eight tunes that balanced labyrinthine narrative lyricism with canny, mischievous counterpoint, Thisness is its sequel; it approaches a four-movement suite of subtle, spacious, inquisitive electro-acoustic jazz. It was informed, in turn, by a watercolor painting from the guitarists mother, Linda Okazaki; historian and Thelonious Monk biographer Robin D.G. Kellys critical writings on surrealism; observations on architecture from producer David Breskin; and the glorious wide-open poetry of jazzs first Afro-futurist, Sun Ra. The four works here are of similar duration (between nine and ten minutes) and focus on structured improvisation. While Okazakis compositions offer form, weight, and harmonic function, they are, conversely, wide open in expectation, allowing for and following winding, sometimes non-linear lines of inquiry. Opener "In Some Far Off Place" commences with gauzy, crescendo-like statements. After a brief solo guitar intro followed by fret harmonics, piano, wordless vocals, and drums, the instruments become a porous blanket of support for Okazakis pillowy chord voicings and fingerpicked single-string play. Only Tidds bassline prompts bumps, runs, and flows, adding pulse and heat. About halfway through, the bassist gets funky while the guitarist responds with vamp statements before exploring short, knotty phrases against the rhythm sections interlocking grooves. "Years in Space" is introduced with a clipped, syncopated snare and tom-tom vamp, along with spectral funk from Okazakis hip guitar. Mitchell understands margins; he begins building a harmonic bridge as Tidd feeds him sideways grooves that are linked to create a tightening circular expression from the quartet. Complex dual solo exchanges occur between guitarist and pianist, melding jazz and classical harmony. "I’ll Build a World" is erected from a lithe R&B riff from Tidd, and fed by a mantra of rim-shots. Okazakis angular melodic head is met by Mitchell in contrapuntal improvisation. While the rhythm section offers an elastic frame built on interlocking syncopated vamps, Okazaki explores the underside of Mitchells solo before the bassline frames a raucous drum solo that delves into vanguard fusion. Closer "And Wait for You" offers a bass and drum conversation based on breaks and circular riffing. Ghost traces of early Weather Report, Passport, and pre-Mahavishnu John McLaughlin emerge between Okazakis and Tidds head-to-head. Rickman keeps time but deliberately slips the gears. Mitchell colors outside the lines with shard-like electric piano, while the body of the piece becomes quite active as guitars and keyboards duel for dominance. That said, the totality of ensemble sounds are ultimately balanced in a slightly dissonant exchange of lyric harmonies. Thisness is advanced and idiosyncratic, yet almost compulsively listenable. Its mysteriously constructed melodics and elliptical improvisations are at once provocative, challenging, and alluring. ~ Thom Jurek


1.In Some Far Off Place
2.Years In Space
3.I'll Build a World
4.And Wait for You

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