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The Nobuki Takamen Trio
2018: Nobuki Takamen

Nobuki Takamen on Guitar
Toshiyuki Tanahashi on Bass
Naoki Aikawa on Drums
Akihito Yoshikawa on Percussion (track #6)

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 9, 2018

This CD is the exemplar of some of the most vibrant new sounds on guitar trios today, with Nobuki Takamen stretching his guitar into tonal motifs of a violin, a ukulele, even at one point a harpsichord. And, his full album selection of ten original compositions is eclectically arranged, from blues, to ambient, to romantic, to progressive jazz, to semi-classical, to Latin-infused. I suggest multiple listening experiences to fully appreciate the nuanced and expressive layers of harmonic composition. Nobuki travels widely in Japan and the New York regional jazz circuit, at clubs and special events, in solo and ensemble performances, to wide acclaim. On this album, Nobuki’s trio includes Toshiyuki Tanahashi on bass, Naoki Aikawa on drums, and, on track #6, Akihito Yoshikawa on percussion. Each member of the ensemble has generous, impressive solos throughout.

All compositions by Nobuki Takamen.

Notable tracks:

#1 – The Circle Game – Naoki, on drums, opens this introductory track with rich rhythmic effects, quickly followed by the rambunctious duo of Nobuki on guitar and Toshiyuki on bass. A danceable, echoing theme rolls out, with variations abounding. Clearly, Nobuki Takamen is a master of his Gibson guitars and McCurdy guitars. Nobuki gives Naoki and Toshiyuki a feverish, percussive duet, before he joins in the melodic mayhem.

#5 – Wonderful Days – The tone and tempo of this track is in stark contrast to the previous featured track, with lyrical softness and mellow mood. Toshiyuki’s bow brings out deep melodic tones, and the track ends in a meshed, musical flourish. The overall effect is bucolic and introspective.

#6 – A-Tico-Ta – This Latin-infused track brings in Akihito Yoshikawa, with clavé rhythms ensuing in the tropical tune. The bass, then drums, then guitar breeze in, before one hears quasi-mambo energetics. There’s much to enjoy in this track, with its wistful, melodic trip, south of the border. Akihito’s Latin percussion is a plus.

#7 – Blues Alberta – Nobuki shows his mastery here, with atonal, then bluesy fusion of guitar, drums, and bass, New Orleans style. The elongated, expansive tones, in yearning, deeply moving motifs, especially feature Toshiyuki on soulful bass. Each track on this serendipitous album has its own tonal style, textured sound, and differentiated rhythm. The album, Nobuki Takamen Trio, is a great discovery to begin the fall music season. Nobuki’s upcoming gigs can be found on his above linked website.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at