Yoko Miwa Trio
Ocean Blue Tear Music
Pianist Yoko Miwa wastes no time letting listeners know that her new album, "Pathways," is going to be a wild ride. The opening track, Marc Johnson's "Log O'Rhythm," has a barrelhouse energy that won't quit, and the next track, an excellent original, is perpetual motion until the end. Miwa, a frequent featured player at Jazz at Lincoln Center and clubs like the Blue Note, has performed extensively with Sheila Jordan, Slide Hampton, Arturo Sandoval, and many more. It's been five years since her last album; "Pathways" is worth the wait.
Even when she slows down the pace for Joni Mitchell's gorgeous "Court and Spark," Miwa's passionate expression comes through in her dynamic arrangement. While bassist Will Slater takes an adventurous solo on this tune (and plays distinctively on six more), Brad Barrett occupies the bass chair on the album's other familiar cover, John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "Dear Prudence." Scott Goulding rounds out the rhythm section on drums, taking a fine solo on Miwa's evocative "Lantern Light."