September 7, 2016
Yuichi Inoue 井上祐一 –piano
Keiji Matsushima 松島啓之—trumpet
Hidenori Midorikawa 緑川英徳—alto saxophone
Masanori Okazaki 岡崎正典—tenor saxophone
Otsuka Yoshimasa 大塚義将—bass
Yosuke Tamura 田村陽介—drums
Inoue’s sextet swings hard. They are a tight sextet with a sense of the classics and their own singular view of how a solid rhythm section can best work with a front line that has punch and energy. Kicking off with “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” the song produced all three elements of the title with a lovely tone, great melodic line and deep swing. The sextet has room for everyone to solo, while the rhythm section cooks with hard-bop gusto.
On Horace Silver’s “Quicksilver,” the soloists really jumped into gear. A fast, great trumpet solo by Matsushima was followed by Okazaki and Midorikawa revving the song into a full-bore fun that Horace Silver would have loved. On this song, like the second set’s much slower “Everything Happens to Me,” Inoue sets up a relationship to standards that is respectful and playful, but never confined. Dig in and take it where it goes is his idea. It works wonderfully.
Inoue’s original “Three Timer” was done especially well, with solo after solo creating and investigating each song’s potential. The second set also moved into Brazilian rhythms and fuller power from all of the musicians, everyone holding back nothing from the sextet’s flow. “Sun Shower” really stood out as a complete expression of everyone’s ideas and technique. The small crowd was locked into the full, powerful feeling the group delivers.
The second set included the great “On the Spur of the Moment” which was fast, fun and wild, with a stop-start-pause that was pleasingly confusing. The sextet has been together for a while, so they know where to go and when, and when to pause. The second set closed out with Joe Henderson’s “Homestretch,” given fine treatment from the entire sextet, everyone stating their bluesy, gutsy ideas and being answered in marvelous ways from the others.
Inoue’s playing is deep in the center of the group, and from there, the musicians take their cues with enough freedom to express themselves and enough leadership to hang tightly together. Inoue leads by example to make straight-on jazz that captivates for the full flow of both sets. This is a great group that is easy to relax with, if you like to relax with intensity. You can lean back into your chair but then are drawn forward, over and over again. Just what jazz is supposed to do.
Yuichi Inoue Homepage: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~ZC8M-MYZK/inoue/