Glenn Horiuchi, Lillian Nakano ‎– Poston Sonata

Asian Improv Records ‎– AIR 008
CD, Album, Stereo



Pianist Glenn Horiuchi is one of the unsung innovators in American music, and this is his masterpiece. Poston is a small town in Arizona that was the site of a concentration camp that held over 20,000 Japanese-American internees during the World War II. Horiuchi was deeply involved in the reparations movement and wrote the piece as a tribute to the many he met who were actually interned there. Written in four movements, the first is in song form, the third in theme and variations, and the second and fourth are extended song forms scored as a duet between Horiuchi and Lillian Nakano on shamisen. The long, elegant melodic lines are interspersed with legato streams of 16 and 32 notes that fly of the tips of Mr. Horiuchi's fingers. His harmonic structure is based on three major and three minor pitches, all of them consonant with one another throughout. On the sections where Ms. Nakano plays, a minute-long piano intro introduces the shamisen playing a deep, mournful Japanese folk melody before the two instruments engage each other fully in a swirling, hypnotically beautiful melody. This was originally scored for piano, shamisen, flute, string trio, and percussion, but this minimal approach is far more effective. Its haunted quality is timeless and ageless. The music appears to have come from antiquity, but is so thoroughly modern it reinvents it. The rest of the album is comprised of fine solo piano pieces that showcase the wide breadth of Mr. Horiuchi's musical frontier. The most notable are a gorgeous 12-bar floating blues called "Blues for John Okada" and the album's closer, which could have been written by Duke Pearson, "Mochi Groove," which employs an Eastern scale to do a deep-soul shuffle on the lead and bridge before fading into the silence.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 003160044866