Be prepared for one heck of an earworm – even if you don’t know Japanese you’ll be singing along to Arigato (track one) after the second go round. The lyrics are printed inside but sadly my Japanese lessons are a distant memory and all I can read is the character ‘no’. Luckily music is the universal language, and Miho Wada speaks fluent jazz/pop, on flute and sax, as well as deploying her cute and peppy vocals. The artwork is cool too.
Quite the international musical ambassador, she travelled (with her band) to the famed Sun Studio in Memphis for the recording of this 4-track EP. There’s some great playing by the band and they get to stretch out a bit with very competent solos. You wouldn’t usually associate a jazzy flute player with a studio famous for slapback echo and a steady, country-fied 2/4 rhythm. But actually, a little of that creeps in by track three and you’re reminded of the links between country, jazz, blues and rock all over again. Great Train Ride starts off like a western movie theme tune and diverts along the way through Texas Playboys’ style violin and guitar solos before heading back to Morricone territory. How lucky we are to have a genre-defying artist like this around.