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Yonezawa, Megumi / Masa Kamaguchi / Ken Kobayashi: Boundary (ESP)

New York-based Japanese pianist Megumi Yonezawa and drummer Ken Kobayashi and Madrid-based Japanese bassist Masa Kamaguchi in a collective trio of free jazz with strong lyrical tendencies and a love of the jazz tradition, a band experienced from live performance and clearly sharing a common language in seemingly effortless group dialog.

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product information:

UPC: 825481502320

Label: ESP
Catalog ID: ESPDISK 5023CD
Squidco Product Code: 25416

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Park West Studios, in Brooklyn, New York, on June 4th, 2017, by Jim Clouse.


Megumi Yonezawa-piano

Masa Kamaguchi-bass

Ken Kobayashi-drums

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track listing:

1. Boundary 4:23

2. Alchemy 6:01

3. Tremor 4:38

4. Meryon 7:16

5. I'll Be Seeing You 6:37

6. Reef 7:29

7. Veil 8:48

8. Onement 6:06

9. Wavelength 5:13

10. Nostalgio 9:49
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings
Japanese & Asian Improv/Rock
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Japanese musicians Megumi Yonezawa, Masa Kamaguchi, and Ken Kobayashi present Boundary. The pianist and drummer live in New York City and often collaborate; the bassist lives in Madrid but comes to New York City twice a year for a month each time. The producer heard them at Manhattan jazz bar Tomi Jazz and immediately booked a session to capture their magic before Masa Kamaguchi left town.

Megumi Yonezawa, from Hokkaido, earned multiple awards while studying performance and composition at Berklee, then joined Greg Osby's group on Jason Moran's recommendation and can be heard with him on the Blue Note album Public (2003). Other credits include work with David Liebman, George Garzone, Sam Newsome, and many more. In 2016 the Fresh Sound New Talent label released her debut album, A Result Of The Colors. But none of these credits reflect the freedom with which she plays on Boundary.

Kamaguchi, also from Hokkaido, has the most recording credits (upwards of 30) in the trio, ranging from Ahmed Abdullah's Actual Proof (CIMP, 1999) to a series of tribute albums with Vinnie Sperrazza and Jacob Sacks. Inspired to play bass after hearing Jaco Pastorius albums, he studied with Gary Peacock student Yoshio Ikeda, then moved to Boston to attend Berklee, followed by a dozen years in New York City performing and recording with ESP star Sonny Simmons, David Murray, Charles Gayle, Paul Motian, Dave Douglas, Frank Kimbrough, and even Toots Thielemans.

Kobayashi, who put the trio together, hails from Tokyo, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in art criticism and art history from Tama Art University. After moving to New York, he expanded his knowledge at the Drummer's Collective."-ESP-Disk

"New York-based Japanese pianist Megumi Yonezawa co-leads a sharp new trio with fellow countrymen, bassist Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Ken Kobayashi. Integrity, freedom, and an extraordinary improvisational facility are part of the group's philosophy, and Boundary proves their individual and collective value in the process of creating spontaneously from predetermined ideas.

Toggling between the fragile and the firm, the title track is a sparse, unhurried, and deeply explorative piece that is ultimately taken by a stubborn tension. While pianist and bassist paddle in the same direction, the drummer, immersed in a precipitate brushwork, seems to get his own way without putting in cause the cohesiveness of the whole. "Meryon" is driven by a similar calm/tension duality. The initial vagueness and ambiguity, triggered by floating bass notes, will drive you to search the palpable, and yet, little by little, our ears begin to dig the virtuosic communication process between these three ramblers. Their steadfast actions end up in a compulsive dance of short high-pitched piano flurries, instinctive bass attacks, and intensive drumming.

Alone and confident, Yonezawa slowly cooks a blend of fragmented phrases, loose notes, and parallel motions to compose the introductory section of "Alchemy", a pure avant-garde exercise that grows considerably in intensity toward the end. The pianist creates fantastic shapes over the bass-drums foundation, which, despite vigorous, feels constantly unobtrusive to her moves. This is also audible on the energizing "Tremor", a song that achieves a punchy rhythmic infatuation through a propelling, nearly swinging groove that supports the assertive exclamations and affirmations uttered by the pianist, who develops her phrasing from a specific rhythmic figure.

Another stirring moment arrives with "Onement", where a relentless note on the piano becomes the axis that will allow Kamaguchi to revolve around it with multiple acrobatic moves. Yonezawa brings in occasional counterpoint with the nuanced comping before the tune turns into a kaleidoscopic showcase for hypnotizing timbres. The language, rich and highly articulated, includes trilling obliques, penetrating harmonic progressions, and epic rhythmic strolls.

Even the most reflective moments convey an intrinsic complexity whose wide emotional range feels enthralling. It happens not only on "I'll Be Seeing You", a jazz standard captured with the freedom of a non-standard and piqued by the background stimulus of Kobayashi's chops, but also on the wishful "Veil" and "Nostalgio".

The plenitude of a fully integrated trio sounds like this. Boundary takes you to unimaginable places, making you not to want to return to your point of origin. Consequently, I hope this visionary Japanese trio has plans to continue experimenting together in the future."-Jazz Trail

Get additional information at Jazz Trail

Artist Biographies:

"Megumi Yonezawa - Pianist/Composer

Megumi Yonezawa is from Hokkaido, Japan. She began learning classical piano at the age of six. Megumi graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Bachelor of Music. During her time at Berklee, she pursued dual majors in performance and jazz composition. Megumi is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards such as the Jazz Performance Award, Clare Fisher Award and Techniques Endowed Scholarship. After her graduation from Berklee, Megumi received a scholarship from Japan as a trainee of the Hokkaido Cultural Foundation Overseas Artist Training. With her scholarship, Megumi had the opportunity to further her research of jazz music in the United States.

And Megumi received a recommendation from Jason Moran

(Blue Note Recording Artist) and became the regular pianist for Greg

Osby (Blue Note Recording Artist). She acquired countless performance experiences while playing piano for Greg Osby and his band. She had the opportunity to perform in prominent venues such as The Village Vanguard, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Jazz Standard, Sweet Rhythm, Symphony Space, Blues Alley, Cornelia Street Cafe, Montreal Jazz Festival, Northsea Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival and many others.

Megumi has recording experiences with Greg Osby and renowned jazz artist; Nicholas Payton, Robert Harst, Rodney Green and Joan Osborne in the album titled, "Public" (Blue Note Records).

And as other projects as a sideman, Megumi performs with vibraphonist Mike Pinto's group "Little Green Men", a group that is released their first album on Steeplechase Records in 2010. Also she plays in Fresh Sound Recording Artist, Jostein Gulbrandsen group with grammy award winning bassit Phil Palombi and former Jean Luc Ponty sideman Thierry Arpino.

Additionally, Megumi also had been an Artist in Residence at Wildacres in North Carolina in 2010 and 2011."

-Megumi Yonezawa Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Masa Kamaguchi - Bass, Japan

Masa Kamaguchi was born in 1966 in Wakkanai City, the northernmost city in Hokkaido, Japan. Masa was inspired to take up the electric bass at age 14 after listening to the records of Jaco Pastorius. In 1985 he moved to Tokyo to attend the Hosei University where he studied engineering but also took up the acoustic bass, studying privately with Yoshio Ikeda, himself a former student of Gary Peacock. In 1990, Masa moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, and proceeded to study with drummer Joe Hunt. While based in Boston, Kamaguchi was in demand to play with many of the area's great musicians, including Geoge Gazone, Bert Sieger, Hal Crook, Herb Pomeroy and Frank Carberg. During this time in Boston, Masa also toured Europe and Scandinavia on several occasions.

In 1994, Masa moved to New York City where he is much in demand by many groups, performing with such lumininaries as Frank Kimbrough, Sonny Simmons, Ben Monder, David Murray, Toots Thielmans, Tony Malaby, Charles Gale and many others. His recording credits include dates with Frank Kimbrough, Paul Motion, Ron Horton, Dave Douglas, Sonny Simmons, Tony Malaby, John O'allager, Russ Lossing, Billy Mintz and many others.

in 2006, Masa moved to Barcelona, while he maintains strong connections with NY musicians. He also started to play with European musicians, such as Albert Bover, Perico Sambeat, Albert Sanz and Sara Serpa.

In January 2010, for Jamboree's 50-year anniversary, he played for the Jamboree All Star group and also the Fresh Sound All Star Group.

An acutely intuitive player, Masa brings an individual sound and fresh perspective to the acoustic bass. His rich warm tone and modern style define his individuality. Kamaguchi is a versatile player, at home with a truly wide range of musical influences, that translate into his brilliant concept."

-Global Music Foundation (

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"Ken Kobayashi was born, grew up and lived in Tokyo. Awarded the Bachelor of Art in art critique and art history from Tama Art University. While at the same time, he started pursuing his music career as a drummer. Acquiring a strong knowledge in contemporary art, Kobayashi has aimed to found his own unique style by interesting artistic idea or theory practiced by his admires including John Zorn, Tim Berne and Derek Bailey.

After cementing his relationships with the other young artists and players in Tokyo, Kobayashi moved to New York in 1998 and gained more complex drumming techniques of Jazz and world music at the Drummer's Collective, New York. To further integrate art and music, Kobayashi has recently challenged to review his music with visual arts such as sound artworks and visual effects. He also exploits his creative style with contemporary jazz, free jazz, East European, Arabic rhythms and electronics sounds for his music in order to develop his visual association to music."

-All About Jazz (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

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