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MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL

Soundtrack of the summer: Yosuke Yamashita

by Yung-hsiang Kao

Known for almost 40 years for his bass-less, eponymous trio and half that time for his New York Trio, pianist Yosuke Yamashita offers listeners a change by bringing his New Quartet to Noto. Yamashita, 67, will play with bassist Akira Yanagihara, alto saxophonist Yuya Yoneda and drummer Takumi Ogasawara, all 20-somethings with whom he formed the quartet in 2005. Though Yamashita has played a wide range of genres, including original compositions influenced by Japanese themes and George Gershwin, the quartet plays mostly free jazz, his musical core. Expect a high-energy show, especially from Yamashita, who is known to leap out of his seat during piano solos. His piano and Yoneda’s sax take on main solo duties in Yamashita’s arrangements — a good choice, as Yoneda is a talented improviser. The excitement, unpredictability, and whimsicality of the quartet make this the jazz gig of the summer.

Also check out: Violinist Naoko Terai and swing vocalist Banu Gibson.

The setting: A seaside park crowded with about 2,500 people who sit on the grass or in lawn chairs with the ocean forming a natural backdrop to the stage — a relaxing way to listen to jazz on a summer day.