Miles Okazaki

(Pi Recordings)

Thisness is the natural evolution of guitarist Miles Okazaki’s surrealist machinations and whimsical lyricism. Okazaki and his band Trickster, featuring keyboardist Matt Mitchell, bassist Anthony Tidd and drummer Sean Rickman, explore astral jazz, blues motifs, and rock instrumentation through a labyrinth of divergent musical themes. The result is cinematic in scope, absurdist in substance: a freewheeling journey of rhythmic tapestries, cerebral improvisation and whimsical melody.

“In Some Far Off Place” opens with a flamenco flourish, and gracefully layers in Okazaki’s muscular phrasing and ephemeral vocals. It’s a playful, frenetic tune that swells into a rapid-fire call-and-response between Mitchell’s mentholated keys and Okazaki’s elastic acoustics. Buoyed by Anthony Tidd’s reliable bass and Rickman’s sumptuous drums, the song builds in heat gradually, exploring distinct but interconnected channels of creative energy and improvisation. The band moves into electronic funk territory in “Years In Space,” a methodical jam anchored by Tidd’s languid bass and Rickman’s dynamic drums. Mitchell’s piano explores soulful melodies, a foil to Okazaki’s acoustic musings. The way the quartet moves from one distinct theme to the next can feel disjointed at times, and yet the transitions are exquisitely subtle. “Years In Space” is characterized by this juxtaposition. What started as a funk piece devolves into deconstructed free improvisation by the end.

“I’ll Build A World” starts off similarly, with an R&B backbeat and straightahead jazz melody.

On Sale Now
April 2024
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