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Album review: 'Keep talkin' '


Yoko Miwa Trio

'Keep Talkin' '

Ocean Blue Tear Music

Over the past two decades, pianist Yoko Miwa has established herself as a top side-musician with Esperanza Spalding, Kevin Mahogany, Arturo Sandoval, and others. Miwa is also the leader with her own trio. The group's latest album, "Keep Talkin'," reinforces Miwa's prowess as a pianist and composer. She is comfortable in a variety of styles, from the bluesy nature of the title track to the intricacies of Thelonious Monk ("In Walked Bud") and Charles Mingus ("Boogie Stop Shuffle"). Her playing is, in a word, sparkling.

Her own compositions, like "Tone Portrait" and "Sunset Lane," have the feel of instant classics. And when Miwa covers pop songs, she favors unlikely choices and reinvents them as jazz standards ripe for improvisation. On "Keep Talkin'," The Beatles' "Golden Slumbers/You Never Give Me Your Money" and Joni Mitchell's "Conversation" are transformed. Bassist Will Slater and drummer Scott Goulding provide strong support throughout the album, while Brad Barrett plays gorgeous arco bass on Miwa's beautiful closer, "Sunshine Follows the Rain."