Sana Nagano – “Inside the Rainbow”


Sana Nagano - "Inside the Rainbow"An engaging session from violinist Sana Nagano, who is joined by improv giant Karl Berger on vibes and guitarist John Ehlis.  Avant-garde, but not in a pushy in-your-face way.  Music shifts from a motion of stop-and-go traffic to one of peaceful drives through a pastoral countryside, but this music is absorbing at either speed.

There’s “Theme of Time Thieves,” with its ambling cadence and folksy charm, contrasting nicely with the skittering run-for-cover tempo of “Dance Dragon Rolls.”  “Phantom’s Dream,” on the other hand, has trio members performing a complex guessing game in which each attempts to stay a step ahead and arrive at the next beat a fraction before the others.

“Spells-Rubber Human” is a bustling bit of percussion, but it’s the way in which violin and vibes melt into one another that carries the tune.  “Natural Lover” has the crisp beauty of pure moonlight, whereas the boozy “Bubbles, Infinite, Sea” wavers and staggers and struggles to stay upright.  The brooding “Snail’s Breath” balances a quiet intensity with friendly melodic lines of conversation.

This is a nice offering for her debut album.  Worth noting that Nagano is also a member of Adam Rudolph’s Go: Organic Orchestra, an outfit that has a nifty talent at creating unconventional music that is terrifically engaging.

Your album personnel:  Sana Nagano (violin), Karl Berger (vibraphone), and John Ehlis (guitar).

The album is Self-Produced.

Jazz from NYC.

Available at:  eMusic | Bandcamp | CDBaby | Amazon MP3

And according to Nagano’s website, CDs with handmade covers are available at NYC’s Downtown Music Gallery.  Not sure if those are only available for walk-in purchases or also via their online store.  Couldn’t hurt to ask.  It appears to be the only place that offers the CD.


Some of this review was used originally in the weekly new jazz releases column I write for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to the reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…

“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ reprints courtesy of, Inc.
© 2014, Inc.

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.