Born: September 2 Primary Instrument: Piano
Taeko Kunishima started playing piano at seven. Particularly taken by Mozart and Beethoven, she later studied classical piano performance at university. On hearing Miles Davis for the first time, her direction changed, leading her to explore the music of many different jazz artists, and to develop her own improvisatory technique whilst studying jazz harmony.
Since moving to England, she has continued to evolve and develop her startling, angular contemporary jazz approach, echoing Thelonius Monk and influences of her native Japan. Alongside her work with many UK jazz artists, she has also been working with musicians from many different cultures and countries, and has built up an impressive range of musical partnerships, ranging from Latin pop to electronic music and contemporary classical music. She has performed live sessions on Resonance FM radio. Resonance FM and Jazz FM have both played tracks from her albums Space To Be and Red Dragonfly....
Opener “To The Hebrides” is a meditative piano solo, quickly followed by the driving riff of “Return To Life”: Paul Moylan’s powerful double bass and Max Hallett’s shoot-from-the-hip drums are united in urgency. Sean Corby’s eloquent trumpet switches from au naturel to electronic psychedelia, while Clive Bell’s shakuhachi flute brings a lurking samurai menace to “Spring Rain” and “Dusk”. Meanwhile David Ross’s percussion stokes the embers under simmering charmers like “Promise”. Finally vocalist Rio Roberts paints the elegiac watercolours of the title track, a beautiful study in melodic melancholy.
Clive Bell’s production luxuriates in acoustic warmth, but then takes dubwise liberties, making this a surprising and decidedly non-purist album. Late Autumn is the most profound and adventurous statement so far from this creative Japanese pianist.
Red Dragonfly (33jazz, 2006)
Late Autumn (33jazz, 2011)
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