CD Review - “Falling Leaves - Live in Hamburg” - Jazzthetik - 01/02 2011Dec 28th, 2010 | By Jan Matthies | Category: Press Ayako Shirasaki, JP
- Nabil Atassi in Jazzthetik - 01/02 2011 on page 81.
“The consistent performance and interpretation of jazz standards has become rare in this era of ultra-modern formations. But in autumn when the nights get longer and colder and when long time audiophile evenings in living rooms with carefully positioned high-fidelity speakers are more comfortable again, this pure form of jazz interpretation is regaining its appeal.
Right now, the Japanese pianist Ayako Shirasaki comes with a piano solo album with an autumnal title. The origin is unusual: Japanese descent, gifted jazz pianist who lives in New York, gives a double concert in Hamburg, one with her trio and this solo concert. The recording reflects the genuine atmosphere of the concert. A baroque concert hall had been chosen, and here Shirasaki seems to be in her element. She opened the evening with a very imaginative interpretation of Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation”. Later Sonny Rollins “Airegin” Barry Harris “Nascimento” and Chick Corea’s “Mirror Mirror” were to be heard. Virtuoso and very focused Shirasaki generated a tremendous body of sound, which combined jazz and classical solo piano performance. She modulated, accentuated, but didn’t quite manages to reach the freshness of an ensemble and escape the hotel lobbies jazz credo, as it would have been worthy for her artistic ability. She puts a lot of personality, poetry and virtuosity in the pieces and uses her tremendous harmonic modulation capability for great dramatic tension. As encore, she plays Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” - but not simply alone, she transferred the famous 5/4 into the wild Sonny Rollins calypso “St. Thomas” - a spectacle. Gratifying that Shirasaki also mixes some of her own compositions in her set. The highlight is her version of the always liked to be heard story of an New York autumn afternoon - “Falling Leaves”. An album for piano lovers and purists, but also for a long audiophile autumn evening.”