Ron Kobayashi Trio

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The follow-up to Ron Kobayashi's Exotic Places is a more live, organic affair, showing off the pianist and his trio-mates (bassist Baba Elefante and drummer Steve Dixon) to better advantage. The program alternates between angular, often Monk-inspired straight-ahead jazz and Latin-tinged funk/fusion, with Elefante frequently switching to electric bass for the latter. Kobayashi wrote six of the nine tracks; two are by Elefante, while "What Is," a reworking of "What Is This Thing Called Love," is by saxophonist Steve Hommel. In addition to Monk, Kobayashi pays tribute to McCoy Tyner on "McCoy's Diner," a syncopated Latin/funk chart based on repeated four-chord cycles. He ends the album with a poetic solo piece titled "Alone."

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