Aristotle said that to achieve beauty, proportion is everything. Shigeharu Mukai has contemporized that ideal into a well-practiced jazz unit that is just the right size: big enough for harmonic textures and soloing variety, but small enough for agility and drive. Mukai’s latest release, “Super 4 Brass,” incorporates his 30 years as trombone player, composer, leader and teacher into a brilliant set of 10 tunes with a powerfully sharp sense of musical balance.

While Mukai has many different working groups in Tokyo, this particular septet has been performing together for about two years. They recorded the CD at the jazz club Someday in Shin-Okubo for the small jazz indie label Shiosai, which has released some of the best Japanese jazz CDs of the past couple of years (on sublabels ZIZO, Studio Wee, Alchemy and What’s New). The crisp production allows the listener to really hear the four-piece front-line harmonies of trombone, trumpet, alto and tenor sax over the rhythm section.

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