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Kuni Mikami: Three for One

- CD Reviews

Kuni Mikami: Three for One
From Close to You (CTY), Just Like the Old Days (JLTOD), and Echoes (E)
2005 On Time USA

With Two Trios and Solo Piano
(CTY) - Kuni Mikami: Piano, Keith Lambeth: Bass, Wally Gator Watson: Drums
(JLTOD) - Kuni Mikami: Piano, Lisle Atkinson: Bass, Frank Gant: Drums
(E) - Kuni Mikami: Solo Piano

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 9, 2005

This CD is a compilation of three out of print CD’s, featuring Kuni Mikami, a piano legend from the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, who now performs at Birdland with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Kuni appears intermittently in this fusion CD either solo or with two different pairs of accompanists. Pieces range from slow, meandering solo compositions by Mikami to ballads or cool swing band.

Notable tracks:

#4 –Sunny – Composed by B. Hebb. (CTY) With a smooth piano lead, this ballad soon sizzles, as Lambeth on bass and Watson on drums add rhythm and syncopation to Mikami’s trills. The melody is kept intact, a treat these days, and the ballad gets a zesty upbeat lift.

#6 –Morning – Composed by K. Mikami. (E) This solo is one of three similar, melancholy tracks with an Asian styled introspective mood, like a light waterfall of notes, mostly in the upper tonal range. Mikami shows his versatility with these three tracks.

#7 –Just Like the Old Days – Composed by K. Mikami. (JLTOD) This track has a slow, staccato swing, with the band cohesively collaborating. Gant on drums and Atkinson on bass keep a steady, but somewhat sultry swing warm and welcome.

#9 –Misty – Composed by E. Garner. (CTY) With a piano and drum introduction, Mikami maintains the lead, throwing in a frill and a trill now and then. This is my favorite track, because of the innovative interpretation and relaxed rendition, swing jazz through and through.

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