15th November 2019
Composer/pianist Eri Yamamoto weaves magic in this choral jazz odyssey, drawing on the Japanese tradition of Goshu Ondo, the dance song, in a vivid collaboration between her trio and Choral Chameleon.
Eri Yamamoto transcends jazz, classical and folk forms to create a stunning new suite for jazz trio and 50-member choir.
Born and raised in Shiga Prefecture, Japan & based in NYC since 1995, the pianist and composer seamlessly melds biography, group improvisation and far-ranging compositional vocabularies in this momentous seven-part suite, featuring her longstanding trio (featuring bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi) in collaboration with New York-based Choral Chameleon, directed by its award-winning founder, Vince Peterson.
The suite commences with the folk-influenced melodic kernel from which the rest blooms. Choral Chameleon’s heterophony, polyphony and unison singing
beautifully weaves with Yamamoto’s trio, often with gorgeous open vowels evocative of natural scenes in works ranging from Claude Debussy through Charles Ives to Duke Ellington. All is bolstered by gentle trio improvisation, Ambrosio and Takeuchi propelling the band forward and ultimately building to a life-affirming choral unison.
As the final movement’s ecstatic and celebratory rhythms surge, crest and dissipate and the various musical threads converge, a transcultural journey is palpable, of many and disparate experiences existing in luminous multicommunal nexus. The coda composition performed by the trio, “Echo of Echo”, provides a final moment of reflection, mirroring the suite’s ultimate descent toward silence, demonstrating, again, that the part is in the whole, which far exceeds the sum of its components.