Chihiro Yamanaka (3 stars)

Chihiro Yamanaka

Lach Doch Mal (Emarcy)


This young Japanese pianist makes her Scottish debut this issue at The Lot, and follows in the wake of Hiromi in being snapped up by a major label. Like many of our own young jazz musicians, she has studied both in London and at Berklee College in Boston, and is based in New York. Not surprisingly, her playing is thoroughly Americanised, both in her stylistic resources and choice of idioms.

Yamanaka is a fluent and quick-thinking improviser with a strong touch at the keyboard and a sure rhythmic sense. Her material mixes her own tunes with a couple of standards (albeit oddly treated in one instance) and jazz compositions by Roland Kirk and McCoy Tyner, as well as a side-step into classical sources. She is accompanied by the top drawer US rhythm team of Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, attractions in their own right.

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