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New arrivals at Eastwind Import

by Hajime 30. August 2007 00:33
Five new arrivals from Marshmallow Records, including brand-new releases by Jan Lundgren and Carsten Dahl!

Jan Lundgren / A Swinging Rendezvous
The highly anticipated new Marshmallow release by Jan Lundgren is finally here, and it is an instant classic! With his Scandinavian rhythm section (Jesper Lundgaard on bass and Alex Riel on drums), Lundgren tackles a jazz composer's songbook. Really swinging. Really cool.

Carsten Dahl Trio / Bebopish Rubbish Rabbit
Danish pianist Carsten Dahl's latest release from Marshmallow is another smash hit! The keyword is "bebop." Dahl approaches each tune with fierce concentration and a sense of humor.

Introducing Oliver Antunes
Olivier Antunes was born in Paris in 1973 and grew up in Denmark. Backed by the legendary bassist Mads Vinding and Alex Riel, the imaginative young pianist made an impressive debut. Groovy and uplifting!

Kasper Villaume Trio / Estate
If you liked his earlier album Footprints (MMEX-109), you'll LOVE this earlier recording. With a lot of blues feel, a strong sense of swing, and formidable technique, Villaume is an imporessive talent we should all keep an eye on.

Duke Jordan / Always
When Jordan recorded this strong trio album in 1990, he had been a long-time resident of Copenhagen, Denmark. Without pretenses or preciousness, the piano master simply played elegant, thoughtful and swinging jazz. What a great album! The strong support and inspired solos by bassist Jesper Lundgaard is also notable.

Three Helen Merrill reissues now available!

Helen Merrill With Strings
Recorded for the EmArcy label in 1955, this album features a string orchestra arranged for and conducted by Richard Hayman as well as a stellar rhythm section consisting of Hank Jones, Milt Hinton, Sol Gubin and Barry Galbraith. Merrill transforms well-known love songs with her unique interpretations and takes the listener to another world. A phenomenal vocal work by an accomplished artist.

Helen Merrill / Deep in a Dream
In this 1965 recording, Merrill sings as if she is "one of the musicians." She is surrounded by a stellar cast: Dick Katz, Thad Jones, Jim Hall, Ron Carter and Pete La Roca, each of whom takes full advantage of generous solo spaces given to them.

Helen Merrill / Chasin' the Bird
Merrill's another collaboration with pianist/arranger Dick Katz is a George Gershwin songbook with a tip of the hat to Charlie Parker, who composed different melodies on Gershwin's chord changes. The strong band includes Pepper Adams, Mel Lewis and Rufus Reid. Recorded in 1979.

Coming soon…
  • New arrivals from Venus Records, Blueport Jazz and more XRCDs!
  • Five more “Showa Jazz Legends” reissue hybrid SACDs from Sony Music!
  • Newly reissued Three Blind Mice hybrid SACDs!
  • New recording Hybrid SACDs from Eighty-Eights’: Count Basie Orchestra Live in Japan and Hank Jones’ Great Jazz Trio!

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Recent reviews of CDs available at Eastwind Import

by Hajime 30. August 2007 00:24

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New arrivals at Eastwind Import

by Hajime 25. August 2007 19:01
New arrivals at Eastwind Import!

Two new releases by Japanese artists

Lisa Ono / Soul & Bossa
Japanese bossa nova singer Lisa Ono's latest CD is a collection of soul music. With her inimitable treatment, the classic soul hit songs are transformed with the laid-back, lilting rhythms of the bossa nova. Ono's gentle, warm voice is as attractive as ever!

Toshiko Akiyoshi & Lew Tabackin Super Quartet / 50th Anniversary Concert
To celebrate her 50th anniversary of her musical career in the United States, legendary pianist/composer Toshiko Akiyoshi toured Japan in 2006 with Lew Tabackin, George Mraz and Lewis Nash. The inspired live performance was captured with superb sound quality.

Four Swedish jazz CDs from the Spice of Life label

Sliding Hammers / A Beautiful Friendship
The whimsically named group consists of Karin and Mimmi Hammer, sisters who are very, very good at playing the trombone. Honoring the legendary trombone duo Jay and Kai, they put together a very enjoyable program to showcase their talent. The pianist Mathias Algotsson also shines with his playing and compositions.

Putte Wickman & Jan Lundgren / We Will Always Be Together
Putte Wickman, who passed away in February 2006, was a consummate and popular clarinet player in Sweden. Backed by fellow Swede Jan Lundgren and his superb Scandinavian Trio, Wickman's warm, woody clarinet sound is soulful and captivating.

In the Spirit of Oscar / Cakewalk
"In the Spirit of Oscar" is a hot new band formed by Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius to celebrate Oscar Peterson's musical spirit. If anyone can pull it off, it is Wakenius, who has been the member of Peterson's quartet for more than 10 years. A swinging, fun album that makes you want to get up and dance!

Lars Jansson Trio / Hope
Lars Jansson is a talented Swedish pianist who is hugely popular in Japan. This album, recorded in 1999, is considered by many to be one of his best. The trio's performance is lyrical, beautiful, swinging, and passionate.

Great-sounding XRCD

Sara K. / Hell or High Water [XRCD24]
Texas-born singer/songwriter Sara K's latest CD is released in great-sounding XRCD by a German label Stockfisch Records. Interesting mixture of folk, blues, country and jazz, Sara K.'s music is very strong. With astonishingly excellent sound quality, this CD is a treasure for audiophiles. (XRCD plays on any regular CD player.)

Five Hybrid SACD reissues of Japanese jazz albums from Sony Music

Sadao Watanabe / Paysages [Hybrid SACD]
This important album by the alto saxophonist/flutist was recorded in 1971 with Gary Peacock, Masabumi Kikuchi and Masahiko Togashi. The cohesive band shows an inclination for the "free jazz" approach to Watanabe's pastoral writing.

Terumasa Hino / Trans-Blue [Hybrid SACD]
Cornetist Hino's brilliant "with strings" album was recorded in the late 1984 and early 1985. An all-star quintet (with Kenny Kirkland, Eddie, Gomez, Jim Hall and Grady Tate) is combined skillfully with beautiful strings arranged by Masahiko Satoh.

Yoshiaki Masuo / Winds of Barcelona [Hybrid SACD]
Guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo was only 22 years old when he recorded this, his first leader album in 1969. He was a member of Sadao Watanabe's celebrated group, and his fresh, new kind of jazz -- inspired by Wes Montgomery and sometimes referred to as "pop jazz" -- was immensely popular at the time.

Kimiko Kasai / What's New [Hybrid SACD]
Kimiko Kasai was one of the most popular jazz vocalists in Japan when she recorded this (her sixth) album in 1973. In an intimate setting, groovy and soulful Kasai was accompanied by a tasteful piano trio led by Masahiro Kikuchi.

Marlene / Just Like First Love [Hybrid SACD]
Born in the Philippines, Marlene Pena Lim went to Japan with a dream of becoming a jazz singer when she was just 19. Her debut album from CBS/Sony, recorded in 1981, is a collection of contemporary hit songs. With a tight, fusion-style band, strings and horn sections backing Marlene, this album became a big hit and catapulted her to stardom overnight.

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Gene DiNovi's new CD!

by Hajime 21. August 2007 22:43
Eastwind Import is proud to present the latest album by the "poet of jazz piano," Gene DiNovi. As some of you already know, Mr. DiNovi has had a long and successful association with the Japanese independent label Marshmallow Records.


Gene DiNovi / All Through the Night

His latest, All Through the Night, was recorded live on stage (without audience) in November 2006 during his sixth tour of Japan. On this album, he is accompanied by Canadian bassist Neil Swainso and a young Japanese drummer Kazuaki Yokoyama who was only 21 years old at the time of the recording.

Filled with his inimitable taste, elegance and joyful sense of swing, this is a thoroughly enjoyable, charming piano trio album!
 
To celebrate the release of this new CD, Eastwind Import is now offering three earlier CDs of Mr. DiNovi released by Marshmallow Records. Each of them, in my opinion, is a classic.

Gene DiNovi / Precious Moment
One of the earliest collaborations between DiNovi and Mitsuo Johfu of Marshmallow Records. Recorded in 1990 in Japan with a Japanese rhythm section.

Gene DiNovi / How Beautiful Is Night
Recorded in 1991 in Canada with the superb Don Thompson on bass and Memo Acevedo on drums. A masterpiece with magical performances and great sound.

Gene DiNovi / Remembrance
A sister album of How Beautiful Is Night, which consists of relatively sunny, cheerful tunes recorded at the same sessions. Simply wonderful.

Do not forget that we also have other wonderful Marshmallow CDs by Mr. DiNovi:
Golden Earrings
At Red Brick Warehouse - Live in Yokohama
Flower of the Night
So in Love

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See you at the 13th Annual West Coast Jazz Party!

by Hajime 21. August 2007 22:39
For those of you who came to our special sale event at the August meeting of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society, thank you very much! It was a great success, and more importantly, it was a real pleasure meeting and talking with you all. I'd like to thank Bob Levi and everyone at the Audio Society who gave us this wonderful opportunity.
During the Labor Day weekend, Eastwind Import will be once again on the road to sell CDs at the 13th Annual West Coast Jazz Party, one of the best straight-ahead jazz festivals in California. We will be at the Irvine Marriott from Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2. If you live in the area and love jazz, come and see wonderful musicians including James Moody, Terry Gibbs, Ken Peplowski, Butch Miles, Jeremy Pelt, Scott Hamilton, Harry Allen and many, many more!

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New arrivals: Straight Ahead Records and M&I!

by Hajime 8. August 2007 20:42
Neil Larsen / Orbit
A highly anticipated new release from Straight Ahead Records! Keyboardist Neil Larsen formed a super group to play his original compositions: Robben Ford (guitar), Tom Brechtlein (drums), Jimmy Haslip (bass), Gary Meek (sax) and Lee Thornburt (trumpet). The music is classic fusion in the best sense of the phrase: an intelligent mixture of jazz and rock music. Their great performance was captured live-to-two-track, mastered by Bernie Grundman himself, and comes in audiophile "emerald green" CDs!

Eric Reed Trio / Blue Trane
I'm introducing a new label called M&I. It used to be the distributor of Marshmallow Records, and this Japanese label has an interesting catalog. One of their recent standouts is NY pianist Eric Reed's trio album with Ron Carter and Al Foster. A strong, swinging album that was nicely recorded.

Satomi Kawakami / Tiara
Yet another, young and talented Japanese female pianist! Kawakami has a beautiful tone and the ability to make the piano really sing. She also composed eight of the ten songs included in this beautiful debut album. Another great-sounding CD with beautiful piano and strong bass.

Al Haig / Blue Manhattan
Bebop pianist Al Haig is arguably one of those American jazz musicians who are more adored in Japan than in his own country. Japanese producer Toshiya Taenaka's Interplay label recorded this strong trio date with Reggie Johnson (bass) and Frank Gant (drums) in 1980. A rare but highly sought-after CD: a must-have for fans of Al Haig!

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New arrivals from a new label: Eighty-Eight's

by Hajime 8. August 2007 20:26
Eastwind Importhas four outstanding hybrid SACDs from a new Japanese label called Eighty-Eight's! The label's founder Yasohachi Itoh is a legendary producer who has produced more than 350 albums throughout his career at Nippon Phonogram (currenlty Universal Music), CBS/SONY and his own East Wind label. His nickname "Eighty-Eight" comes from his given name which literally means eighty-eight, the number of keys in a piano!

For his own label, Mr. 88 produces what he wants to hear, which is first-rate jazz and fusion, and he uses only the best engineers and best studios in the world to obtain the best sound. As he is a firm believer of SACD (he was directly involved in its development at Sony), he records all his new albums in pure DSD format and releases them in hybrid SACDs. As an introduction of this wonderful label, we've chosen four stellar hybrid SACDs.

Hank Jones' Great Jazz Trio featuring Sadao Watanabe / Stella by Starlight
Recorded in 2006 in Tokyo, this wonderful album marks a 30-year reunion between Jones and Watanabe, who recorded an album together in 1976. At that time, the original Great Jazz Trio consisted of Jones, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. The current generation of the GJT are anchored by younger but great musicians: John Patitucci and Omar Hakim. The trio itself is marvelous, and Watanabe's guest appearance on four tunes make this a truly special album.

Austin Peralta / Maiden Voyage
A true prodigy, Austin Peralta was just 14 years old when he recorded this debut album with Ron Carter on bass and Billy Kilson on drums. This is an awesome and very strong piano trio album, and I was totally blown away. He is definitely a new talent to watch, alongside other young, talented pianists such as Eldar Djangirov, Taylor Eigsti and Hiromi Uehara!

Austin Peralta / Mantra
A year later, at age 15, Peralta went back to the studio to record his second album. This time he had Marcus Strickland on sax and Steve Nelson on vibes to augment his trio and expand his palette. A stylistic disciple of McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, he brings the so-called "new mainstream" sensibility into the new century with his very strong four originals.

Will & Rainbow / A Song for You (In Memory of Michael Brecker)
If you are a fan of Michael Brecker who sadly passed away earlier this year, take note. This is a special tribute for the tenor titan: a compilation of Brecker's collaborations with pianist/keyboardist Will Boulware in the span of almost 30 years. Two tunes are taken from the 1976 album Crystal Green where the two principal musicians were supported by the then-newly formed group called Stuff. Other tunes are taken from their reunion albums recorded in 2002 and 2003, with supporting cast that includes Anthony Jackson, Will Lee and Peter Bernstein.

As always, you can click the links above for album details and sample audio files. Hybrid SACDs can be played on any regular CD player, as well as dedicated SACD players. Happy listening!

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Special Sale Event This Sunday, July 22!

by Hajime 17. July 2007 14:49

A reminder for those who live in Southern California: On Sunday, July 22, I'll bring my entire inventory to the monthly meeting of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society, held at Holiday Inn in Buena Park.

I'll bring a whole new series of classical JVC XRCD24s, the new XRCD24 version of Sara K's Hell or High Water, the 3-SACD box sets of Jazz at the Pawnshop 30th Anniversary limited numbered edition, and many other new arrivals that are not yet on the website. If you live in the area, don't miss this opportunity to buy direct and save on shipping costs!

Please bring cash and/or your checkbook as I cannot accept credit cards. For more info on the meeting, go to the website of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society. It's this Sunday! I hope to see you there!

Sunday, July 22, 1-4pm
Holiday Inn, Buena park

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New Arrivals: Scandinavian singers and New York swing!

by Hajime 17. July 2007 14:45

I'd like to turn your attention to the exciting, new arrivals that I did manage to put up on the website. As usual, you can read the detailed descriptions and listen to sample audio files by clicking the links below.

Inger Marie Gundersen / By Myself
Norwegian singer Inger Marie Gundersen is causing a sensation in Japan. Her jazzy treatment of popular songs reminds me of Norah Jones, but her 20-year experience gives her more maturity and depth, and her album is jazzier and has a darker tone overall. A great-sounding acoustic vocal CD. If you like Norah Jones, you'll LOVE it!

Margareta Bengtson / I'm Old Fashioned
Swedish singer Margareta Bengtson has a beautiful soprano voice. She was a founding member of the famous Swedish vocal outfit The Real Group for more than 20 years, and this is her solo debut CD. Captivating!

The Real Group / Commonly Unique
There are many a cappella groups that do a lot of "instrumental sounds" by voice, but this Swedish group is something else! You listen to it many times and still can't believe no instruments were used in the recording. It's more pops than jazz, but this is amazing, wonderful and uplifting music. Prepare to be blown away!

Junko Moriya Sextet / Playground
Junko Moriya is a talented pianist and composer who works in New York. She won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Composers Competition in 2005 for the composition of the title track. The all-star sextet includes Chris Potter and Ryan Kisor. This, and the preceding two CDs were released by an eclectic Japanese label called "Spice of Life." Expect to see more from this label.

Harry Allen - Scott Hamilton New York Sextet / Swing Brothers
A wonderful, two-tenor unit that reminds me of the Al Cohn - Zoot Sims group. Supported by the top-notch New York swingers such as John Bunch and Bucky Pizzarelli, the two masters swing their butts off in this relaxed, friendly competition.

NY4 / Sweet and Lovely
This group with the anonymous moniker consists of the New York Swing trio (John Bunch, Bucky Pizzarelli and Jay Leonhart) and cornetist Warren Vache. With decades of experience behind them, the four master musicians present the truth, the essence, and the elegance of swing. Lovely music, beautifully recorded. These two modern swing CDs are brought to you by a Japanese independent label called “SwingBros.” We already have Mitsuaki Kishi’s Swingin’ Always on our catalog, and plan to bring more CDs from this great little label.

Coming soon...

  • A new release from Straight Ahead Records: Niel Larsen's "Orbit" featuring Roben Ford! Audiophile "Emerald" CD!
  • From Marshmallow Records: Brand-new releases by Jan Lundgren, Carsten Dahl and Gene DiNovi in August! Plus older recordings by Duke Jordan, DiNovi and Olivier Antunes!
  • Hybrid SACDs from Eighty-Eights: Hank Jones and his Great Jazz Trio, young talent Austin Peralta, and a special collection of Michael Brecker's recordings with Will & Rainbow!

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Nine new arrivals from Venus Records!

by Hajime 10. July 2007 22:48

I'd like to turn your attention to the exciting, nine new arrivals from Venus Records. As usual, you can read the detailed descriptions and listen to sample audio files by clicking the links below.

Ken Peplowski Quartet / Memories of You - 2CD Special Edition
Clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Ken Peplowski made a smash hit when this album was released in its original form in 2006. To celebrate its 15th anniversary, Venus re-released this collection of romantic ballads and standards as a 2-CD "Complete" edition with three additional tracks. Swing Journal's Best Engineered Album 2006 and Jazz Critique Magazine's 10 Best Sounding Jazz Discs of 2006 (third place).

Eddie Higgins Quintet featuring Scott Hamilton and Ken Peplowski / It's Magic - 2CD Special Edition
Another 2-CD "Complete" edition, this album is a collection of relaxed conversations among veteran musicians. Unhurried and ever tasteful, Hamilton and Peplowski perform their lyrical best in front of the beautiful background provided by Higgins and co.

Steve Kuhn Trio / Plays Standards
Veteran pianist Steve Kuhn, who was 68 at the time of this recording, seems to be more energized and invigorated with age, augmenting his intellectual approach and lyricism with a stronger sense of swing and drive. A powerful piano trio album!

David Hazeltine Trio / Alfie
The prolific pianist's latest offering is a Burt Bacharach songbook. Hazeltine shows off his impressive arranging skills and effectively reimagines such Bacharach classics as "The Look of Love," "Walk on by," "This Guy is in Love," "Alfie" and "Close to You."

Stefano Bollani Trio / I'm in the Mood for Love
The Italian genius on piano, Stefano Bollani returned to Venus Records with another strong album. Bollani tackles the familiar American Songbook with a fresh perspective, amazing agility and infinite imagination. Put on your seatbelt and enjoy the ride!

Simone / Taking a Chance on Love
An Austrian singer in her twenties, Simone (she goes by her first name only) has a clear, charming voice and assured delivery. She is surrounded by wonderful musicians in this nicely recorded, enjoyable album.

Dan Nimmer Trio / Kelly Blue - Tribute to Wynton Kelly
A young pianist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dan Nimmer is definitely one to watch. In this tribute album, Jimmy Cobb, who played with Wynton Kelly in the historic "Kind of Blue" session, validates Nimmer's efforts with his personal history and impeccable groove. A wonderful, swinging album!

Ted Rosenthal Trio / The King and I
A rare attempt by a jazz musician to make an album entirely dedicated to the songs from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. Rosenthal, the winner of the Second Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, succeeds brilliantly with the support from the golden rhythm section of George Mraz and Lewis Nash.

Giovanni Guidi Trio / Tomorrow Never Knows
An Italian pianist who belongs to a new generation, the 21-years-old Giovanni Guidi made a stunning debut with this strong album. With an eclectic selection of songs (written by Krzysztof Komeda, Ornette Coleman, Bjork, Brian Eno, Lennon & McCartney, Enrico Rava, Radiohead and Hampton Hawes), the young group shows their modern creativity as well as an appreciation of jazz traditions.

Coming soon...

  • Scandinavian singers: Inger Marie Gundersen, Margareta Bengtson and The Real Group!
  • From Marshmallow Records: Brand-new releases by Jan Lundgren, Carsten Dahl and Gene DiNovi in August! Plus older recordings by Duke Jordan, DiNovi and Olivier Antunes!

Happy listening!

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