(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
Here’s another great addition from the land of the rising sun. East Wind Pot is a contemporary jazz quartet playing some very beautiful music in the style of classic fusion artists like Weather Report and early Return To Forever. What really stands out about this band is the fact that all four members are outstanding musicians but they function together perfectly as a team.
Ex-Theta keyboardist Yuko Tsuchiya is the leader and main songwriter for the band. Her playing is melodious yet somewhat reserved. Mainly relying on organ and piano sounds to fill out her style, Yuko does throw in a few splashes of synth and other sounds here and there. Daisuke Yamasaki on woodwinds gives the band that Weather Report feel. The sax work is especially tasty but he also plays some nice flute and clarinet. Bassist Yoshiyuki Sakurai is a very accomplished player who provides some very complex lines and wonderful melodies. He holds down the rhythm section expertly with drummer Eiichi Tsuchiya. I’m not sure if Eiichi and Yuko are husband and wife, brother and sister or if they are even related but they do share the same last name.
Even though everything on this album is a treat to listen to, my favorite is “An Argument With Illya Kuryakin Whom I Loved In My Childhood”. Illya Kuryakin was the name of a character in the 1960s TV show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and the inspiration gives this one a nice spy-jazz/soundtrack touch. This is a twelve-minute track with several movements, starting out with a beautiful piano/bass intro. There’s also some really fun vibes sounds to give it a groovy lounge feel in places. Then there’s a nice electric piano solo in the middle that reminds me of Chick Corea. Fantastic track!
There are lots of other nice moments on this album too. I like the beginning of “Minotaurus” with the distorted electric guitar sounds that I think are being made by the keyboards. “Blue Monday” is a nice mellow piece with some hazy electric piano. The final track “April Dancer” gives each member a nice spotlight section. There’s even a drum solo and a short bass solo towards the end. Very fine way to finish things off.
I’m still not sure what their name is a reference to. Maybe it’s something in the air…heheh. I thought the cover art with the red pencil and the stunning sunset was going to be a clue but it’s still a mystery to me. What I am convinced of is that this is some especially sweet fusion that you really should check out.