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Marc Devine Trio: Inspiration

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Marc Devine Trio: Inspiration

Marc Devine on Piano

Hide Tanaka on Bass
Fukushi Tainaka on Drums

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 9, 2018

This CD is a gorgeous collection of standards performed by the Marc Devine Trio, which has been favorably reviewed in its Friday night gig at Inti Peruvian Cuisine. Marc and his bassist, Hide Tanaka, along with their drummer, Fukushi Tainaka, play favorite and lesser known standards, and, in live gigs, may include a vocalist. This album, for the instrumental trio alone, is remarkably stylistic, with ravishing keyboard themes and chords, soulful bass solos and accompaniment, and thrilling drum solos and rhythmic backup. Marc, Hide, and Fukushi, all warm and effusive personalities at the gigs, project their natural ensemble chemistry and musical passion onto each of the eight elegant and singable, hummable, danceable tracks. Multiple listening experiences will be rewarding, as each reveals different, nuanced arrangements, thanks to Marc’s eloquent arrangements.

Notable tracks:

#3 – Inspiration – Composed by Marc Devine. Marc Devine notes on the album that his inspirations include, among many, piano greats, Barry Harris and Johnny O’Neal, as well as jazz producer and founder of ITI Records, Michael Dion and musician-author, Art Johnson. This title track, a Marc Devine composition, is rambunctious, upbeat, and high energy. Marc’s piano jumps right into the theme in a billowy, breezy tempo, with Fukushi’s pulsating drums and Hide’s earthy bass backdrop. During the bass solo, the echoing piano chords evoke the original theme. Yet, during the brief drum highlights, it’s all brassy cymbals and rhythmic sticks. The finale showcases a lovely fused flourish.

#4 – Dream – Composed by Johnny Mercer. This renowned standard, by Johnny Mercer, opens with Marc’s expansive piano solo, backed by Hide’s soft bass backdrop, and Fukushi’s even softer brushes. The drums take on more prominence later in the track, but this tune is featured here with a lush, languorous piano arrangement. The mood is romantic and refined, the style sensuous and swell. Marc Devine is a highly traveled and seasoned interpreter of American ballads, and his inspired arrangements, that evoke historical jazz piano greats, will give the listener many hours of equally inspired, melodic pleasure.

#5 – Vignette – Composed by Hank Jones. This piece, fervent and intense, is a track that showcases these three musical talents as one. Bass and drums seize the moment with delightful enthusiasm, and Marc makes ample room for Hide and Fukushi to shine. At one point, this trio sounded like its own big band, with larger than life sound. The tempo is red hot swing, and this track could be the score professional ballroom show dance.

#7 – Love Me Tender – Composed by Vera Matson / Elvis Presley. As a lifelong Elvis Pressley fan, it is great to have his signature “Love Me Tender” on this impressive album. Marc’s arrangement is magnetic, with the barest drum brushes and a touch of cymbals in the final moments, plus bass echoes in the backdrop. A piano-bass duet for Marc and Hide is stunning and sensitive, evoking the ambient mood that Elvis’ tune creates. There’s yearning, innocence, and romance emanating from these lush phrases.

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