Highly Recommended Jazz Album: A SHADE OF BLUE (Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio)

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by Connor McCormick on November 6, 2023

in CD-DVD,Music

Veteran pianist Tsuyoshi Yamamoto debuts on prestigious Japanese label evosound with A Shade Of Blue, out on CD and vinyl now, and digitally on December 8, 2023. Famed for his light touch, exquisite musical sensitivity, and hard-swinging approach to the piano, master Yamamoto has enjoyed a long and storied career that has yielded over 50 albums, seen him play alongside American jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie and Elvin Jones and witnessed him take the stage at many world-renowned music events, including Switzerland’s iconic Montreux Jazz Festival.

Now, at the age of 75, Niigata Japan-born Yamamoto has no desire to retire. Joining evosound for a first-ever feat, he presents 10 tracks recorded live at Tokyo’s Gotanda Cultural Center Music Hall. A Shade Of Blue is Yamamoto’s love letter to the piano trio format. It reflects his deep appreciation for the music of Erroll Garner, Wynton Kelly, and Red Garland, three immensely gifted African-American pianists who had a profound influence on the Japanese musician’s approach to the piano.

Featuring some of Yamamoto’s favourite tunes, A Shade Of Blue is like a trip through the pianist’s back catalogue; it offers a well-balanced blend of timeless jazz standards (“Misty”), memorable pop tunes (“The Way We Were”) and striking original material (“Speed Ball Blues”). A Shade Of Blue is a stunning showcase for the pianistic brilliance of 76-year-old Yamamoto, who sparkles on up-tempo swingers and achieves a deeply glowing luminosity on his incredible renditions of slow ballads.

The trio that Yamamoto assembled for A Shade Of Blue is highly experienced, with a combined age of 215 years; drummer Toshio Osumi (大隅 寿男) is 79 and has been the heartbeat of Yamamoto’s trio since 1974, while the 61-year-old bassist Hiroshi Kagawa (香川 裕史) is the youngest member of the band. A Shade Of Blue reveals the three musicians’ incredible musical chemistry; listening to the ten tracks they’ve recorded together, it’s as if they breathe, think, and feel as one person; such is the musical empathy between them.


  1. Speed Ball Blues
  2. Speak Low
  3. The Way We Were
  4. Like Someone In Love
  5. Black Is The Color
  6. Girl Talk
  7. Midnight Sugar
  8. Last Tango In Paris
  9. Misty
  10. Bye Bye Blackbird

The album is available on 180-gram double vinyl LP, SACD – Hybrid Multi-Channel and MQA-CD, and later in the year on MQA-CD + Blu-ray (Dolby Atmos + Stereo) and on an impeccably shot 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Dolby Atmos / Auro /Stereo).

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