Twilight and dusk: those brief periods where the sky is a certain sunless purple-blue and the cacophony has died off–these are the times for gentle music, for soft conversation, and for quiet. These are moments when it’s sometimes impossible to tear oneself away from the creative work or the bed or the rooftop terrace because the mind is at its most clear. Japanese musician Souta Niihara and his feathery folk acoustic jazz fit flush for these hours with every plush saxophone moan and guitar thrum thumping out a heartbeat.
A Stockholm transplant, Niihara marries the eloquence of Japanese folk music with modal jazz reminiscent of the more mellifluous works of Miles Davis or John Coltrane and what results are tunes meant for savoring alone without distraction. “Trust Me With Sax,” a collaboration with saxophonist Bertil Lundborg, smooths over the senses before settling in for a long while at more than six minutes. Another sparkler is “Dee,” an atmospheric breath that rides the waves of a guitar and up-right bass with little more. More lounge than the rest is “Tabibito.” Japanese for “traveler,” the song leans a little too close to smooth jazz, but is nonetheless beautiful.
An anecdote for those times when it’s impossible to leave the house or the book or the moment, Souta Niihara’s music leaves little room for doing anything other than listening and one needn’t be a jazz fan to delight in the sounds.
“Trust Me With a Sax”
“Ano Subarashii Ai O Moichido”
Sal Christ is a writer with headphones glued to her ears. When she’s not daydreaming about a place that’s not so cold , her face is either smashed in a David Foster Wallace book or staring at her screen as she works on her own.