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Pianist Eiko Rikuhashi's debut EP is a sparkling beauty
(Published: May 09, 2011)

May 9, 2011 (New York, NY) Written by Robert Sutton. It unfolds like a rose in full bloom, its lovely petals outstretched. It's called "Restart," and for an album featuring covers of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gene de Paul, and Joe Zawinul, it is one of Eiko Rikuhashi's own compositions that stand out on her debut EP, You Are My Strength.

On "Restart," Rikuhashi's piano illustrates the sparkling beauty of rainfall; its sublime melodies, slowly building up, caress the ears while igniting the imagination. There is depth of feeling in this track that cannot be denied or even let go after listening; it stays with you like a poem set to piano chords. Dmitri Kolesnik's hypnotic bass adds to its unbreakable spell.

Born in Osaka, Japan on December 1st, 1982, Rikuhashi is now one of New York's young pianists to watch. You Are My Strength reveals startling maturity for a first effort, especially from a musician who is still in her 20s.

On the opening track "I'll Do for You," Rikuhashi's calming piano is locked in an infectious groove with Keith Loftis' swirling saxophone as Kolesnik's bass throbs like a pounding heartbeat. Rikuhashi really knows how to play with her band as opposed to having them simply backing her up. Her version of Jobim's "Meditation" is particularly engaging as percolating Latin rhythms add an exotic spice to the proceedings.

The title cut is a house on fire. Kolesnik opens the song with thumping bass as Loftis' sax begins smoothly but then scorches the air with Lawrence Leathers' crashing drums. There is a tremendous, breathtaking amount of energy exploding in that track alone.

The You in the album's name could be referring to a loved one or have a spiritual context. However, it just might be Rikuhashi's piano itself, a source of impressive strength.

More Information: http://www.pianoeikorikuhashi.com

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