By Carlo Wolff | Published September 2019
Yoko Miwa’s ebullient Keep Talkin’ showcases the drive and lyricism of a pianist and composer at home in bebop, gospel, pop and classical. Bracketed by her title track and the rhapsodic, wistful “Sunshine Follows The Rain,” this is a beautifully constructed album from the Boston-based pianist.
The opener suggests Miwa’s familiarity with ’60s jazz titans, while the closer hints at her adoration of early 20th-century Romantic composers. A classically trained pianist, Miwa doesn’t wear her influences on her sleeve, though. She incorporates them into her own bright style, crafting memorable melodies along the way. “Sunset Lane” is a waltz that conjures an autumnal noon; Miwa’s pearly interplay with drummer Scott Goulding and bassist Will Slater make the tune exciting and at the same time soothing. The bandleader’s five originals effortlessly twine with six thoughtfully curated interpretations, including tunes by The Beatles and Joni Mitchell. Miwa stresses the brooding tenderness of Lennon and McCartney’s “Golden Slumbers/You Never Give Me Your Money” and magically squeezes Charles Mingus’ churchy “Boogie Stop Shuffle” into a trio format. The bandleader clearly revels in the challenge of rearrange tunes she loves, as well as the blend of intimacy and power this unusually gifted trio can muster.
Keep Talkin’: Keep Talkin’; In Walked Bud; Secret Rendezvous; Sunset Lane; Boogie Stop Shuffle; Golden Slumbers/You Never Give Me Your Money; Tone Portrait; Casa Pre–Fabricada; Conversation; If You’re Blue; Sunshine Follows The Rain. (73:57)
Personnel: Yoko Miwa, piano; Scott Goulding, drums; Will Slater, Brad Barrett (11), bass.