Tatsu Aoki

Windy Christmas

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In 1995, the inside/outside offering, Urban Reception, proved to be Tatsu Aoki's most accessible album up to that point. But with Windy Christmas, the acoustic bassist moved even closer to the center and provided a CD that is more post-bop than avant-garde. Leading a pianoless quartet that includes alto saxman Tim O'Dell, electric guitarist Moto Makino and drummer Dave Pavkovic, Aoki focuses primarily on familiar Christmas songs. It was surprising to hear Aoki embracing "The Little Drummer Boy," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" -- after all, many of his avant-garde projects of the early '90s were a long way from the mainstream. Windy Christmas is a pleasing release that shows us a very different but certainly enjoyable side of Aoki.

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