"Roots" is a tremendous accomplishment, and undoubtedly one of the most important and creative jazz albums produced by a violinist in recent history.
Whether you are a purist or a progressive proponent of the globalization of Jazz, Tomoko Omura's offering here, both informed and boldly creative, commands your attention.
It's hard to believe that within just the last ten years Miss Omura came to the U.S
from Japan and has already emerged as a proven powerhouse, one of the top calls in NYC on her instrument.
It might have been easier to stay in Japan and study Youtube videos... Instead, she learned a new language, made her way to one of the leading schools of Jazz at Berklee, and worked against the odds to ensconce herself in NYC amongst a community of world class young players who help to execute her exotic vision with perfect clarity on this recording.
Miss Omura answers the question here concerning what she, and she alone, can contribute to the evolving global jazz movement, by setting her voice as a bandleader, composer, arranger, and player-equally bold and sensitive- within the framework of her native culture's folk songs. The fusion of traditional Japanese music that she heard as a child with the pushing sounds she has absorbed in New York mirror her evolving identity as a woman and artist who is now truly borderless.
Here she demonstrates mastery of the jazz tradition while pushing it unquestionably forward, setting a courageous example and bringing us all closer together in the process.
At once, Tomoko Omura's "Roots" is stirring and melodiously captivating. She has successfully crafted a work that grabs and holds the listener's attention from beginning to end. It's a wonderful piece of art music which functions equally as soothing, yet provocative, musical art.
- Greg Osby