Ryo Kawasaki – Love Within The Universe (1994)

Ryo Kawasaki - Love Within The Universe (1994)
Artist: Ryo Kawasaki
Album: Love Within The Universe
Genre: Jazz Fusion, Jazz-Funk
Origin: Japan
Released: 1994
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

1. Play That Song Again
2. Kiss Of Life
3. Wondering
4. Soleja My Love
5. Time
6. Sea Breeze
7. Night And Day
8. Stefka-Kalimanku
9. Scandalous
10. Song For My Father
11. Change


Original sounds often come from unexpected stylistic hybrids, and wading through the latest batch of contemporary jazz releases rarely offers much hope in this area. A great exception to this rule is the engaging Japanese guitarist Ryo Kawasaki, whose Love Within the Universe defies strict categorization despite its lush stream of embraceable hooks, both original and covers. Though Kawasaki’s acoustic and electric dynamism (often on the same song) is the constant that makes the disc so solid, it’s the mesh of styles behind the strings that piques the ears. There’s a sly urban feel beneath a Hiroshima-like sense of Eastern exoticism, brassy dance grooves behind a cover of Lisa Stansfield’s disco hit “Change,” a little new age grace, and even an African leaning on Horace Silver’s “Song for my Father.” Kawasaki holds this together with a George Benson-like electric flair and a tender acoustic passion. There is one element of ethnic overkill, however. The vocal passages (mostly by Ilana Iguana) are attractive at first, then grow slightly annoying as the guitarist tries to assert himself. Overall, though, this is one of the most engaging surprises of the mid-’90s.
Review by Jonathan Widran