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The Daily Jazz Blog (Marlbank)

Stephen Graham
The Daily Jazz Blog (Marlbank)

Bob Hurst completists may not know about Pixel new from Keigo Hirakawa released recently by US label Origin. Certainly they will want to. And for added value and the main focus beyond the great bassist's participation discover Hirakawa possibly for the first time, particularly his involving writing as the album is stocked almost to the brim of the knotty but immediately impactful compositions by the pianist.

The American-Japanese leader, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Dayton in Ohio who also holds a masters in jazz studies from the New England Conservatory, also has hired reedist and flautist Rafael Statin, guitarist Brandon Scott Coleman and drummer Alex White for Pixel - a link here is worth following in that Hirakawa was a sideman on Coleman's album Infinite Loop released six years ago. Hurst thrives on a riff most on 'Home Somewhere' and more broadly speaking melodies are bright, the stylistic remit loosely spanning 1980s and 1990s jazz-rock but the album sounds in no way dated. There is a generous dimension of rhythmical undertow to the tunes' harmonically progressive directions. Coleman's colouration of melody lines adds texture that opens up more expansive vistas. And in that regard MBASE era guitar hero David Gilmore springs to mind when listening to his contributions as a blues rock seam is prised open. The pianist leader's best soloing comes on 'Origami Beetle' and you can pick up some of the influence of Danilo Pérez there most.

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