TRIchrO – Lilypad -Cambridge – 7/10/16

Eriko Lilypad

TRIchrO

The first number I hear is a waltz, steady, with bright tones from Eriko Mercure on piano, alternating with straight-out funk from Dave Mercure on electric bass, and Mark Fairweather, on drums, switching between heavy thuds, and soft cymbal sweeps. The tone lightens, with Eriko doing soft swing. The tempo keeps changing. It can get elegant and romantic, with the focus on Eriko, her gentle glissandi, sharp chord blocks, contemplative flights up and down the registers. Then there are bluesy aftertastes.

The next number is “Gravity”. It is very geometrical. Circles and squares and jagged lines. Tension builds, and it is a rolling modal workout. Then again it is delicate, ornate, just like Chopin. Eriko plays alone, and she’s everywhere, back to the blues, segueing into Beethoven-like sonata, as the bass breaks in again, likewise alone, but rocking with harmonics and overtones. Fairweather takes his solo, with complex Latin infusions, but solid and syncopated and swinging. The three come together again with fitful bursts and sparks, one flame shooting out of another like a Roman candle. The end is sweet and grand.

There is a serene, serious logic to this music. It’s almost like you are hearing Eriko’s thought work, as if she were writing an essay, stuck on knotty quandaries, working around them into exuberant solutions. It is always stopping and starting, moving from one place to another, and back, with a solid foundation.

She is also playful, like a child playing with blocks, building imaginary villages. Her sources are many, and you are struck by myriad, haunting and enchanting, scenes as you stroll through them. But she keeps playing, rearranging the blocks, so it is always a changing village you are in even within one song.

TRIchrO has stop-on-a-dime rhythms, aromatic warmth, stride and swing, rushes of good energy. Their final number, “Friends From Afar”, is one such rush, where Eriko has the crystal effervescence of Cedar Walton, building one chord on top on another, with a racing pace. You never know where the trio will take you, but you always know where you are.

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Yoko Miwa Trio – Thelonious Monkfish – Cambridge – 7/1

Monkfish (Yoko)

John Lockwood guests on bass tonight, who is a veteran of staple Boston trio The Fringe. He really anchors this session tonight. Steady, heavy, spiraling the trio sound, which is light and lively tonight. Scott Goulding, on drums, has a crispy swing.

Monfish (Lockwood)

Yoko introduces the group after the first number, “The Touch of Your Lips”, a Bill Evans song, her “favorite, favorite.” The crowd is loud in the restaurant, with much chatter, but the audience is with her. You can tell by the whoop when she says, “My name is Yoko Miwa.”

Monkfish (Goulding)

You never hear the same Yoko Miwa twice. Her tone shifts with her moods, and with your moods. She has a real feel for the blues, which she stomps loud and brash, but she gets morbidly personal, and you listen, often, to her stories with the patience of a lover.

Tonight she is extroverted, outgoing, blithely competing with the audience chatter, enjoying a kind of chatter of her own, with Lockwood and Goulding, on bass and drums. She also has dialogues with herself, exploring the various registers of the keyboard, with the independent hand action she is known for, the left hand throwing fourths and fifths, scattering them like confetti, as her right twists and turns out corkscrew melodies.

Yoko is at her best when she is opening up in the middle of a solo, exploring the deeps of her most personal emotions, bluesy as muddy waters, cutting open diapasons and sonorities as though she were cutting the pulp out of a pineapple, smoothing it all over, like she had just put new sheets on a new bed. She takes you on journeys, down exotic rivers, but she always makes sure you have a nice hotel where you can sleep.