b. Takashi Matsunaga, 1987, Japan. Matsunaga was introduced at the age of five to jazz by his father and fast developed into an accomplished pianist. His sparkling technique first attracted attention in his homeland but his star began to rise internationally in 2004 when he signed to Blue Note Records. Owing in part to vigorous publicity and also to the contemporaneous promotion in the record industry of ‘youth for youth’s sake’, he was soon drawing praise from many quarters. Although an interesting player, it was clear from the Blue Note set that he had yet to mature into a distinctive individualist. Instead, his stylistic approach carries echoes of many others from the long history of jazz piano; nevertheless, this set was comprised entirely of his own compositions. On Storm Zone he led a trio rounded out by Daiki Yasukagawa (bass) and Junji Hirose (drums).
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