Tsuyoshi Yamamoto, a veteran pianist renowned for his delicate touch and musical sensitivity, introduces his latest work–A Shade Of Blue–issued under the prestigious audiophile label evosound. Yamamoto, with a career spanning over fifty albums and performances alongside jazz legends, brings a fresh perspective to the piano trio format. Recorded live at Tokyo’s Gotanda Cultural Center Music Hall, this album serves as a homage to his influences such as Erroll Garner, Wynton Kelly, and Red Garland.
A Shade Of Blue features an experienced trio, with Yamamoto backed by drummer Toshio Osumi and bassist Hiroshi Kagawa. This synergy is evident across the album's ten tracks, where the trio seems to breathe and create as one unified entity–showcasing their exceptional musical empathy.
The album presents a mix of jazz standards, pop tunes, and original compositions. Key tracks include "Speed Ball Blues", "The Way We Were", and "Misty", showcasing Yamamoto's ability to blend up-tempo pieces with soulful slow ballads. Each track is a testament to Yamamoto's pianistic brilliance, displaying his ability to infuse each note with emotion and depth.
The technical aspects of A Shade Of Blue are equally impressive. The album is available in various high-quality formats–including 180-gram vinyl, hybrid multi-channel SACD, and MQA-CD–each offering listeners a rich, immersive audio experience. These formats highlight the album's exquisite sound engineering, enhancing the listening experience to a new level.
We at IAA are thrilled to offer the album as an exclusive immersive digital download through our online shop, with high-resolution 5.1 FLAC files as well as Dolby TrueHD/Atmos MKVs.
Immersive streaming is certainly a great way to audition the Atmos mix prior to purchase, but the Dolby TrueHD/Atmos MKV files from IAA’s shop provide an infinitely more rewarding experience for audiophiles. With lossless Dolby TrueHD, the detail and clarity heard in the studio is much better preserved.
The 5.1 surround mix is surprisingly effective, considering there are only three instruments (piano, upright bass, and drums) in play for the majority of the album. Yamamoto’s piano is mixed in stereo across the left side of the room, while Toshio Osumi’s drum kit spans the right side of the room. Hiroshi Kagawa’s bass is mostly isolated in the center speaker, though some dry signal does spill over into the front channels.
As one might expect, the Dolby Atmos mix contributes an additional sense of height and overall envelopment to the performance. The soundstage of piano on the left, drums on the right, and bass in the middle is mostly retained, but these elements seem to hover in space rather than emanate directly from specific sets of speakers.
Sound quality is out-of-this-world good. Each instrument is equalized to perfection: The high-end is crisp without any stridency, while the lows are powerful but not muddy–and the dynamic range has not been compressed in any way. There are some magical moments where it really sounds like the trio is performing live in your listening room.
Overall, A Shade Of Blue is a testament to the enduring power of jazz and the timeless artistry of Yamamoto and his trio. It’s a must-have for jazz enthusiasts and audiophiles alike, offering a blend of emotional depth, technical mastery, and aural pleasure. While there is little in the way of movement or other pyrotechnics, the Atmos & 5.1 mixes are quite effective given the sparse nature of the material. If you enjoy this music, you won’t regret the purchase!
Purchase A Shade Of Blue in the IAA Shop!