Kuni Mikami Trio
(Kuni Mikami Website)
Kuni Mikami on Piano
Bryce Sebastien on Bass
Richard J. Allen on Drums
Stephanie Clark on Vocals
131 West 3rd Street at Sixth Ave.
Media Contact: Carolyn McClair
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 20, 2005
(See Kuni Mikami Cd Review).
In instrumentals, like “Moanin' “, “Shiny Stockings”, and “All of Me”, the Kuni Mikami Trio entertained the Blue Note brunch crowd, packed on an early Sunday afternoon in Greenwich Village. Kuni used to be pianist for the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and is now pianist for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The early set began with soft, mellow tones on Blue Note’s famed and rich, Bösendorfer piano. An echoing bass helped create an abstract, but melodic introduction, and Bryce Sebastien, also of the Ellington Orchestra, commanded effective solos over Kuni’s piano chords. Traditional jazz developed with nice swing riffs, and the music was layered and lengthy, a delight with the romantic reverberations of the beautiful Bösendorfer.
A slow, rhythmic swing, written by Frank Foster and arranged by Count Basie followed, with very low, luxurious sound. Kuni endearingly told the audience about his years with Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet, and Duke Ellington Orchestra. All of Me was smooth with bass surprises, and every trill on the Bösendorfer was playful and pleasing. Stephanie Clark, a singer who does not lack presence, peppered her songs with audience asides. She sang the blues, and she sang romance (Squeeze Me), with a somewhat overpowering style. A Train had a virtuosic drum riff, by the very talented Richard J. Allen, and Kuni’s piano solo was rippling and rousing. My Foolish Heart, also with vocals, seemed to be Ms. Clark’s best piece, finding her finest mood and motif.
Kuni Mikami performs each week at Birdland with the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Richard J. Allen, Bryce Sebastien, Kuni Mikami, Outside Blue Note
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower