Recommended: Yoko Miwa Trio – “Pathways”


There’s an immensely pleasing tunefulness to the newest from Yoko Miwa.  The pianist has a way of taking a crisp melody, simply stated, and locking the ear’s attention in place.  On her newest album Pathways, Miwa’s trio adopts the approach of sticking to a small patch of turf and examining every inch of that melody and exposing every little facet.  Sometimes her trio swings contentedly along, like on “The Goalkeeper,” and sometimes the trio works modern territory, as they do with the moody “Lantern Light.”  Miwa’s rendition of Marc Johnson’s “Log O’Rhythm” is a nice example of how the blues can generate an abundance of warmth with a cheerful attitude.  Those same qualities carry on over to the Miwa original composition “Lickety Split” and its classic hard bop sound.

Covers of two pop tunes bring about a nice dose of intensity.  It’s a slow build of emotion on Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark,” whereas a rendition of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” utilizes the song’s combustible melody as a launching pad to sudden spikes in tension.  Both interpretations are plenty enjoyable, but it’s the original pieces that represent the album’s stronger force.

Plenty here to like.

Your album personnel:  Yoko Miwa (piano), Will Slater (acoustic bass), Scott Goulding (drums) and guest: Brad Barrett (acoustic bass).

This Self-Produced album was released on Miwa’s Ocean Blue Tear Music.

Music from Boston, MA.

Available at:  Amazon