On Three Purple Circles, pianist and composer Misako Kano sets her original compositions in the context of the broader tradition by including two Ornette Coleman compositions and two standard ballads. These serve to set off her own lean, impressionistic compositions, which range from the antic portrayal of the Tokyo subway system, "Three Purple Circles," to the delicate night music of "Night Bells."These are realized through the complementary support of bassist Mark Helias, who adds warm, melodic counterpoint, and drummer Satoshi Takieshi, who proves sensitive both the coloristic as well as rhythmic demands of the music. Guest saxophonist David Liebman is a strong contributor to four tracks, especially Kano's "Tinge," a showcase for his multifaceted soprano in a duo setting. The Coleman pieces "Broken Shadows" and "Ramblin'" bring out the bluesier side of the pianist's work. Her playful dissection of Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss" demonstrates that an improviser need not abandon the melody in order to make a personal statement.
AllMusic Review by David Dupont