Born in Sapporo, during her childhood Emi Takada studied music and sang in choirs in Japan and in the late 1990s was also briefly in the Houston Symphony Chorus. From 2010, she studied in America with Marion Cowings and also sang in New York clubs. For the next few years she divided her time between New York and Houston, but since 2017 has been mostly back in her homeland, while continuing to visit New York for gigs (and for this recording session).
As a glance at the track listing will show, Takada has drawn all but the closing song from the Great American Songbook. The over-familiarity of the material might deter some but that said, these songs are treated well.
Takada’s vocal sound is light, her diction generally clear and only slightly accented, something that is a little more apparent on songs taken at faster tempi. Takada’s accompanists here provide ideal backing and there are occasional solos, in particular from Michael Kanan and Satoshi Inoue. Both of these soloists are attuned to the overriding air, which is relaxed and thoughtful.
Takada’s former teacher, Cowings, is also present on some tracks, lending vocal touches to an appropriately aching Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, the Blue Skies/In Walked Bud medley, and to the Japanese song, which has an attractive mournful melody and is said to be very popular in that country.
It Might As Well Be Spring; All The Things You Are; You Must Believe In Spring; I’m In The Mood For Love; Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye; Blue Skies/In Walked Bud; Stormy Weather; Lover, Come Back To Me; Why Did I Choose You?; No More Blues; Miagete Goran Yoru No Hoshi Wo (Look Up At The Night Stars) (50.46)
Takada (v); Michael Kanan (p); Satoshi Inoue (g); Neil Miner (b); Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax (d): Marion Cowings (pc, v). 12/13 January 2018. NYC.