I’ve been a fan of Miles Okazaki since the first note of his album Mirror gracefully filled my ear-lobes lifting me to another musical atmosphere. I find that Miles Okazaki’s music – more so than any other contemporary jazz musician – is accepted by almost anyone who hears it no matter their affiliation or taste. I attribute this to the purity of the concepts and focus on aural pleasure. In this piece, Okazaki and his ensemble embrace the inherent joy of listening to music by taking a melodic structure and spinning a remarkably complex and unpredictable web. Here is a teaser for his new album Figurations. This album was released May 8, 2012 and is a live recording featuring an ensemble of improvisational masters including saxophonist Miguel Zenon, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Dan Weiss.
In music built heavily on structure — mixed meter, long lines, counterpoint — the trick is to make it flow and sound natural, connected to the body. That’s what this quartet does, and each part of “Figurations” is elegant, precise, dramatic and well played. . . It’s a cerebral but warm record, and each part sounds wholly different from the last. Mr. Okazaki plays here with the saxophonist Miguel Zenón, the bassist Thomas Morgan and the drummer Dan Weiss. They’re equals in the project, inhabiting the music. Watch this band.
Ben Ratliff via – Nytimes