and composer Hiroe Sekine brings some soothing, ambient sounds with her
second release as a leader, After the Rainfall (Sekai Music, 2012).
This elegant set offers four original songs and Sekine’s arrangements of
titles by the Beatles, Chick Corea, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Thelonious
Sekine plays acoustic piano, keyboard and provides vocals in the way of
wordless chants and lyrics. Her band consists of Bob Sheppard on tenor and
soprano saxophones and flute; Larry Koonse on guitar; Darek Oles on
acoustic bass; Jimmy Johnson on electric bass; Peter Erskine on drums and
shaker; and Arnold McCuller on vocals.
The title song is a delightful piece written by Sekine. Guitar and piano
blend for the melody at the beginning. As the song picks up, Sekine’s
ethereal vocal carries the lead. The music has an air of David Benoit
Erskine was an excellent choice. He’s on a short list of drummers who
stand out, even when carrying the rhythm. Whether a roll of the toms or a
series on the splash cymbal, he has a way of doing more than just hitting
the notes at the right time. He’s an exceptional complement to any leader.
Koonse starts with acoustic guitar but later switches to electric, adding
a haunting quality.
Sekine slows down the cover of the Beatles’ “In My Life.” She sings the
first verse and chorus, stepping aside for McCuller on the second. During
the tranquil middle break, Oles serenades on the acoustic bass. The
vocalists harmonize on the final chorus, giving this rendition a charm all
“Aqui O,” penned by Toninho Horta and Fernando Brant, injects some samba
into this affair. Sheppard’s flute completes this taste of Brazil.
After the Rainfall is produced by pianist/composer Russell Ferrante,
a founding member of the Yellowjackets.