East Bounce

East Bounce

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If Linda Richman, the Mike Myers character on Saturday Night Live, were to take a listen to Yoshio Suzuki's ensemble, she might be inclined to joke, "East Bounce is neither East nor Bounce, discuss." An acoustic bassist whose extensive resume boasts the likes of Sonny Rollins and Chet Baker, Suzuki and his largely Japanese ensemble seem most content to amble along the road of catchy and simple melodic atmospherics. Using Suzuki's generally sweet, laid back compositions as a blueprint, East Bounce creates a series of radio perfect gems which go on sharp jazzy tangents to offset the tamer passages. The few truly bouncy pieces--the explosive "Shinjuku" and percussive "A Storm of Love"-- hint at the rhythmic potential which is only partially realized elsewhere. While Masahiro Fujioka's mannered saxwork and Manabu Ohishi's piano stand out above the melodic simplicity, the band's greatest contribution to contemporary jazzdom is the rare way Suzuki incorporates acoustic bass into a pop framework. He doesn't allow himself much solo time, but the easy throbbing on "Winter Daybreak" may help break new ground in this electric meets unplugged landscape.

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