April 24, 2016
Buy at Sweep Record
Sweet Spin is the latest original work by Hiroto Saitoh and features a plethora of jazz tunes done in a variety of styles. How does it compare to some of his previously released original albums?
The album opens with ‘Rain Drop Bitter Cocktail,” an upbeat jazz number with some great bass runs, Rhodes keyboard, mallet instruments, and a fantastic melody. It kicks off the album on a jubilant note and the brass and woodwind really help give it an airiness. “Old Temple” is more jazz fusion in approach, incorporating woodwinds, accordion, strings, brass, and some Japanese elements into the mix. The overall tone of the piece is a bit mysterious thanks, in part, to the slower tempo of the piece. “After Carnaval” is a bossa nova style piece focusing on acoustic guitar and Portuguese vocal samples that add a bit of an exotic element to the mix. In addition, there are also some electronic elements in the piece that add a bit of musical texture to the piece. The end result is pretty groovy and the saxophone melody is fantastic. “Asian blue antique,” originally appearing on his original album, D-Prism, is an extremely beautiful piece of music fusing together jazz elements with traditional Asian instrumentation. Of particular note is the stunning shamisen section that really helps give a nice exhilarating feel to the music.
The shortest piece on the album is “Escapade” with its fast tempo. The piece itself serves as a nice refresher and is fairly enjoyable, but is mostly saxophone noodling and bass runs. “Candles,” on the other hand, is a much slower piece and gives off a smokey vibe with its lounge/noir style. It’s one of those pieces that would work pretty well in a noir film. “Summer Ends” is more new age jazz in style with a saxophone lead. There are some retro synths incorporated into the accompaniment. The overall piece is upbeat but is a bit too muzak for my tastes. The titular tune, “Sweet Spin,” is certainly my favorite on the album. Groovy piano, vocal samples, and a disco sound make way for another jubilant piece with a pretty catchy melody and an excellent piano solo. Lastly, the album ends with “Night Tree,” a sultry piano jazz tune with a beautiful melody that ends the album on a more romantic note.
Sweet Spin is one of Hiroto Saitoh’s more successful original works. His other albums have had jazz influence, but he takes it to the forefront with this album. A variety of jazz styles showcased and, for the most part, an enjoyable listening experience is to be had. There is certainly something here for everyone who enjoys jazz and for fans of Saitoh’s game works, this might introduce you to another side of him.
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Posted on September 13, 2016 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on September 13, 2016.