This is a reissue of a 1994 NYC recording session featuring a piano trio led by the Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikuchi. I know nothing about him and this is one of those frustrating albums whose note booklet tells us nothing either. The JMT Edition is a similar heavy cardstock packaging to other Winter & Winter CDs – with rather dicey storage for the CD which could allow for scratching. It reminded me of the earliest xrcd packages, before JVC started including protective envelopes for the discs.
The nine tracks cover many of Weill’s best-known songs, and several allow for plenty of development of the tunes. Longest of all is Moritat (Mack the Knife), running over 11 minutes and getting into some fairly non-tonal improvisations. Yet It Never Was You runs only 1:45 with a straightforward statement of the melody. With Gary Peacock and Paul Motian filling out the trio, Kikuchi couldn’t have a better rhythm section to support his Weill improvisations. The high musical quality of all of Weill’s music provides excellent sources for the most involved improvisations. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more swing and syncopation in Kikuchi’s style, but Peacock and Motian seem to supply much of what’s missing in that area and the gestalt seems to work. Sonics are quite good.
Tracks: Alabama Song, Barbara Song, Moritat, September Song, It Never Was You, Trouble Man, Speak Low, Bilbao Song, My Ship.
– John Henry