Composer-pianist Taeko Kunishima’s Late Autumn starts with her stream of jazz consciousness style. It instantly feels both musically liberated and firmly rooted in multi-era reverence. Then the seven-minute scorcher Return To Life. Inside of its retro-progressive ascensions, shakuhachi virtuoso Clive Bell evokes a Japanese classicism which then vanishes, jarring the imagination. Sean Corby’s trumpet and flugelhorn slash through like a comet, tempered by Bell’s flute. This culminates to a thrilling, primal statement. The atmospherics are a fine example of Kunishima’s style, mixing eras with sublime naturalism. She has a concrete points of musical view and isn’t afraid to carve out unexpected territory.
The Waves has a swirling percussive drive by way of Bell’s flute, which conjures a reflexive, cathartic jazz pool, then shifting as Corby’s horn crashes in like a tidal wave. Kimie has an afterhours feel, and lifts the harrowing mood with Kunishima’s meandering before being sent aloft by Bell’s firebird flute and Corby’s runaway horn.
Later, the elegiac Dusk featuring Bell’s shakuhachi, has its musical roots in antiquity, as Kunishima’s strums the piano wires and Moylan essays lush sonorities, next to the bassist’s bone-dry bowing, for arresting contrasts. There is a haunting and haunted serenity in the after burns.
The finale is the title track’s plaintive and elegant vocal by Rio Roberts; great interplay of Kunishima’s lyricism around her whispering vocals leaves hope that this is a teaser for a full session next time around.