Firmly standing on the foundation he laid down with Scenery, Ryo Fukui continues his exploration of modal, bop and cool jazz sounds with meticulous grace and absolute mastery.
As it's title suggests, Mellow Dream ventures into slightly mellower, more soulful, and sometimes more contemplative territories (the Bill Evans-reminiscent "Mellow Dream" and "My Foolish Heart") while still packing the commanding punch Fukui's work is loved for, as heard on the amazingly bombastic "Baron Potato Blues" or the gigantic McCoy Tyner/John Coltrane-influenced "Horizon" which sees each member of the trio (Satoshi Denpo is on bass and Yoshinori Fukui is on drums) demonstrating their virtuosity for 9 exhilarating minutes.
With his sophomore album, Ryo Fukui swings from melancholy to vibrant joy with ease, reminding us that jazz is best served with a pinch of blues, and displays an immensely rare combination of pure talent, unique personal approach and focused discipline. The man undeniably deserves a spot in the pantheon of all-time great jazz pianists.
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