--Mark Corroto, AllAboutJazz.com
On June 24th, AUM Fidelity will release pianist/composer Eri Yamamoto's, Duologue (AUM048), her new album of duets with fellow New York scene mainstays, Daniel Carter (alto and tenor saxophones), Hamid Drake (frame drum), William Parker (bass) and Federico Ughi (drums). For this special project, her first recording as a leader without her longstanding trio, Ms. Yamamoto handpicked four of her favorite collaborators and wrote two original pieces to record with each of them. Together these esteemed musicians bring their own distinctive voices and well-documented talents as improvisers to bear on these eight engaging compositions.
Duologue is the first of two forthcoming releases from Ms. Yamamoto for the label, and will be followed by her fifth trio recording, Redwoods (AUM049), on September 23rd. In addition to leading her trio, which has become a fixture on the New York scene over the past eight years, she also tours and records with Parker, appearing on his recent releases, Luc's Lantern (Thirsty Ear, 2005) and Corn Meal Dance (AUM Fidelity, 2007), and is a member of groups led by Whit Dickey and Lawrence D. Butch" Morris among others.
In his review of her latest CD, Cobalt Blue (Thirsty Ear, 2006), All Music Guide contributor Thom Jurek declared, Eri Yamamoto is a young Japanese pianist who possesses all the tools necessary for greatness: a keen sense of time, a swinging voice, technical chops that anybody would admire, and a singer's lyric sensibility as a soloist."
Other critics have written, Yamamoto sounds both familiar and new; she's both a standard-bearer and breaker" (James Taylor, AllAboutJazz.com), [her] elegant compositions surround you and stroke your every need" (Lyn Horton, jazzreview.com) and [her] ensemble work combines buoyancy and brawn, and her solos pivot effortlessly between blues-infused grittiness and lyrical brightness" (Bill Shoemaker, PointofDeparture.org).
A classically trained musician since the age of three, Ms. Yamamoto first heard a jazz piano trio perform live during a visit to New York from her native Japan in 1995. That fateful encounter with noted pianist Tommy Flanagan immediately changed her life, and marked the genesis of her career as one of the most distinctive new voices in creative music. By the end of the decade, after studies at New School University's prestigious jazz program with Reggie Workman among others, she was performing in clubs and leading her own trio, which has since built on its strong following in New York with performances in the U.K., Japan and Spain.
I don't know how anyone could get to this level in such a short period of time," professed jazz legend Herbie Hancock, but my hat's off to her. This is just the beginning, and already she's found her own voice."