1. If I Only Had a Brain
2. Piano Nocturne No. 6 Op. 9 No. 2
4. I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
5. My Favourite Things
6. I Could Have Danced All Night / I Won't Dance
7. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'
8. I'm Walkin'
9. Never Never Land
10. Love for Sale
Sherrie Maricle - Drums
Tomoko Ohno - Piano
Noriko Ueda - Bass
When I first heard American drummer Sherrie Maricle, I was doubtful
about her technique which (as a drummer myself, with a lamentable
technique!) I judged to be slightly less than perfect. On this new
album, there are still occasional hints of Sherrie sounding uncertain
or fumbling the beat, although in general she plays very well. She
is leading a trio completed by two Japanese musicians who are also
part of the Diva Jazz Orchestra and the quintet called Five Play,
both of which Sherrie leads.
Both the Japanese musicians are excellent players, and I am particularly
impressed by pianist Tomoko Ohno, who is not afraid to thump the piano
for funky or soulful tunes. In this respect, she is very reminiscent
of Gene Harris. Bassist Noriko Ueda plays some well-structured solos
and keeps well in tune. She even states the melody in I've Grown
Accustomed to Her Face.
The trio uses one device which holds them together and gives structure
to their playing. They often employ accents - almost certainly pre-arranged
- which are punched home by piano, bass and drums with united force.
This is readily heard in Horace Silver's Virgo, where the tune
is given added impact by the combined accents.
Having been rather unenthusiastc about Sherrie Maricle's drumming,
I have to admit that she creates breaks which fit in well as punctuation
for most tunes. A good example is I'm Walkin', where she fills
in the gaps with aplomb.
The album starts with an unusual choice: If I Only Had a Brain
from The Wizard of Oz, which actually makes a swinging jazz
vehicle. A Chopin Piano Nocturne is another unexpected choice,
but Tomoko Ohno turns it into a gliding tune with a gentle bossa nova-style
beat. My Favourite Things is also given a Latin rhythm which
blends well with the jazz-waltz feel of the piece. I Could Have
Danced All Night is performed as an easy swinger, with Tomoko
Ohno's piano again to the fore. The double bass hints at I Won't
Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' breaks up the tune's beat in
an interesting way, with a further hint of Latin-American rhythm.
The title-track is delivered with exemplary sensitivity by Tomoko,
and Noriko adds a melodic bass solo. Finally, Love for Sale
is performed in a mixture of 4/4 and 7/4 - a tempo which fits the
tune perfectly, as Cole Porter's melody has a swaying sensation which
suggests four beats then three.