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Journey to Journey

by Miho Hazama

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Sven B. Schreiber
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Sven B. Schreiber It's obvious that I'm currently quite a bit into unusual big band music... Miho Hazama, Monika Roscher, and Jacob Mann are currently among my favorite artists I'm listening to. "Journey to Journey" - Miho Hazama's debut album with her ensemble "m_unit" - precedes "Time River" by more than two years, but it doesn't sound like a debut at all. Her skills as a composer, arranger, and pianist obviously were in full bloom right from the start. Frankly, jazz is not among my favorite genres, but sometimes it gets quite close.
Philip Graham
Philip Graham thumbnail
Philip Graham Super struttin' big band jazz here, with a string quartet section to sweeten and sharpen the proceedings. Energy galore, this music is an intricate wonder. Favorite track: Mr. O.
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1 - Mr. O
2 - Tokyo Confidential
3 - Blue Forest
4 - Journey to Journey
5 - Paparazzi
6 - Believing in Myself
7 - Ballad
8 - What Will You See When You Turn the Next Corner
9 - Hidamari

CD Quality - 16 bit / 44.1 khz

Music has an uncanny ability to transmit emotion unlike any other art form. Ups and downs. Failures and achievements. In this particular instance, the music on composer/arranger Miho Hazama’s new record captures the joy of completing one stage in her musical development, namely graduation from the Manhattan School of Music, and the beginning of her new journey as a professional musician.

The expressive new recording Journey to Journey (Sunnyside, Mar. 26, 2013) showcases the fantastic workmanship of this young Japanese composer, arranger and pianist. Originally from Tokyo, but now based in New York City, Hazama has studied music since she was five years old, beginning with piano and electric organ. When she was thirteen, she began to study composition in earnest, which led her to studies at Kunitachi College of Music and then to the Manhattan School, where she completed her master’s degree in jazz composition.

For Journey to Journey, Hazama has assembled a large ensemble that she calls the m_unit, a versatile large jazz ensemble that also features vibraphone and a string section. The ensemble performs a collection of inspired pieces Hazama wrote and arranged along with an intriguing arrangement of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”

The record begins with the ebullient “Mr. O,” which unleashes a torrent of musical ideas like yarns from an exuberant storyteller. “Tokyo Confidential” is a charging yet mysterious, noir-ish tune featuring the superb vibraphone playing of special guest Stefon Harris. The lush “Blue Forest” presents an expertly wrought arrangement led by strings followed by a lilting flugelhorn feature. “Journey to Journey” relates directly to the sentiment of moving forward from one path to the next with an upbeat composition with an occasionally tentative but ultimately uplifting theme. The track also features the sublime tones of Steve Wilson’s alto saxophone.

Hazama’s interpretation of Lady Gaga’s hit “Paparazzi” shows the young arranger’s ability to transform a well-known theme into something entirely new. “Believing in Myself” is a tricky composition challenging performers and listeners alike but culminating in an intense, beautiful ending. The mingling of woodwinds and strings make “Ballad” a short and stunning harmonic study. The music of “What Will You See When You Turn the Next Corner?” asks many questions and gives an intriguing answer with a nuanced and diverse performance. “Hidamari” closes the record with an introspective, beautiful tone poem.

Journey to Journey introduces a new and exceptionally talented voice into the jazz world. Miho Hazama has studied and molded herself into an artist of great value. This recording is a perfect introduction to her musical identity as she begins her next journey.


released March 26, 2013

Miho Hazama (conducting, piano on tracks 4 & 6)
Cam Collins (alto sax, clarinet) except track 6
Ryoji Ihara (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute) except track 6
Andrew Gutauskas (baritone sax, bass clarinet) except track 6
Philip Dizack (trumpet, flugelhorn) except track 6
Bert Hill (French horn) except track 6
Mark Feldman (violin)
Joyce Hammann (violin)
Lois Martin (viola)
Meaghan Burke (cello)
James Shipp (vibraphone) except tracks 2 & 6
Sam Harris (piano) except tracks 4 & 6
Sam Anning (bass) except track 6
Jake Goldbas (drums)
Chris Reza (conducting) on track 4

Stefon Harris (vibraphone) on track 2
Steve Wilson (alto sax) on track 4

All songs composed by Miho Hazama except track 5 composed by Lady Gaga


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Miho Hazama New York, New York

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