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Martha Kato Ensemble @ Blues Alley

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Splanky View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01 May 2016 at 6:53pm
A couple of weeks ago my wife and I caught the Martha Kato Ensemble at Blues Alley in DC.  I was not familiar with her music but as is often this case when I don't know the headliner I was very pleasantly surprised.  She and her band are young and very talented.  The harmonies of the four horns were quite beautiful and projected a sense of bold serenity.  Ms. Kato's piano solos were also serene but compelling - no bombastic runs up and down the keyboard or pounding chords - just light, melodic investigations.  Her voice is pretty and soft-spoken and she uses it to harmonize with the band or occasionally to sing in Japanese.  The overall style was definitely cool but Jonathan Powell blew some hot solos on trumpet and flugelhorn and Daniel Dor kept the beat and rhythms churning behind everyone on the drums.  I would definitely recommend seeing them live if you get the chance.  Their CD is called "Tales From The Trees" and is worth picking up.  I am featuring two songs from it - "Eshubeleke" and "Frostwork" - on my internet radio station (www.splankyradio.com).  Not sure when the ensemble is playing live again but Ms. Kato is playing solo at Lincoln Square Steak, 208 W. 70th Street, New York on May 4, 7, 25, and 30.  Her website is www.marthakato.com.

Edited by Splanky - 01 May 2016 at 6:59pm
Scott W. Weaver
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