Yoko Miwa's regular gig is with the Ryles Jazz Orchestra in Boston, her adopted home since she left the classical world behind and took advantage of a Berklee scholarship to complete the jazz studies she'd begun in her native Japan. She has since been a member of the Berklee faculty and gigged regularly in the Northeast, but she really shines in the trio context. Her second album as a leader (supported beautifully by bassist Greg Loughman and drummer Scott Goulding) is one of the warmest, most unapologetically lyrical jazz albums of the year, but despite its surface charms it doesn't come across as shallow or simplistic in any way. Miwa displays her facility with a variety of styles on this all-original program, from strutting blues ("Blues in the Cave") to reflective ballads (the gorgeous "In My Heart") and percolating bebop ("Black Bunny"). But what's consistently impressive is her ability to deliver complex and challenging musical ideas in a compelling and yet frequently gentle and inviting way. Very highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson