Maki Watanabe is a bassist who also has outstanding skills of composition and arranging. The first song is Maki's original composition "Three colors". This piece demonstrates refreshing musical taste with advancement beyond the creative process associated with writing and the creation of lead sheet. Rather than creating a melody and chord symbols, the idea is to compose a piece that contains developed and varied musical textures based on specific and predetermined resources and motives. A standard jazz piece "You'd be nice", arranged for 6 horns and rhythm section, harkens back to the early days of jazz with spice of his modern approach.
This is a wonderful opportunity for the solo players to join in and express themselves with background melodies and pads of horns. "Nearness" is a jazz ballad number performed by his piano trio in Maki's novel and precise re-harmonization for every single note of the melody. The movement of harmony brings out unsullied beauty of his taste. A chamber jazz piece ¡ÈLast Winter¡É is an a cappella, composed for 5 horns and piano without rhythm section. "Rain in" is a series consist of three movements. Tricky solo of the drums compliments the dynamics in the series and also takes a tricky solo, these movements comes together as one drama when you feel changes of seasons from the music. Maki composed and arranged, "Tips of the Fingers" for a combination of string quartet and piano. There is a true magic on this song, something which cannot be expressed by words, kind of a magic on the whole music which existed on the Debussy days. It retains a characteristic jazz spirit while standing firmly in the chamber music tradition. "Stockholm", closing number arranged for a big band, begins with a bouncy arrangement of doubling horn melodies with counter melodies.
What better way to introduce the advanced writing ability of Maki Watanabe than through Bartok influenced arrangement. Maki cooks the ending with his forte, developments of motive and manipulation of contrapuntal lines, and sound of the very last voicing is led as strong impression of unique dissonance. Throughout, one can sense that Maki has outstanding and highly developed musical concepts with deep love for the music and is also willing to put his stamp on it as well. Having fun as well as gaining valuable experience is evident throughout. Here's hoping that we hear more from Maki in the future.