May's delivery is at times so genuine and kind, it is really a pleasure to listen to her...
Japanese vocalist May Okita recently departed Los Angeles where she spent several years developing her musical voice with some of the finest mentors and musical partners in jazz. Before moving back to Tokyo, she recorded this deeply personal album with two particularly inspirational and empathetic musicians: pianist Josh Nelson and guitarist Larry Koonse. Together, they explore many of the subtleties of the human heart - pleasure, sorrow, passion, calmness - her sonorous and poignant voice floating effortlessly over the Bernstein/Comden gem "Some Other Time," the Joni Mitchell classic "Both Sides Now," the Lou Carter, Herb Ellis, Johnny Frigo beauty "Detour Ahead," or May and Josh's own title song. Art of Life is a heartfelt debut for a promising new voice.
1. Let's Face the Music and Dance 3:46 Irving Berlin
2. Both Sides Now 4:54 Joni Mitchell
3. Detour Ahead 5:14 Herb Ellis, John Frigo, Lou Carter
4. Art of Life 4:50 May Okita, Josh Nelson
5. Blue Rose 4:26 Duke Ellington
6. When She Loved Me 5:05 Randy Newman
7. Some Other Time 4:21 Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein
8. Smile 3:47 John Turner, Geoffrey Parsons, Charles Chaplin
9. What a Difference a Day Made 4:30 Maria Grever, Stanley Adams
10. Ev'ry Time We Say Good Bye 4:31 Cole Porter
Arranged by Josh Nelson
Mau Okita - vocal
Josh Nelson - piano
Larry Koonse - guitar
Produced by May Okita & Josh Nelson
Recorded by Talley Sherwood at TriTone Studios, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
on May 1-2, 2018
Additional recording on "Blue Rose" by Mineo Kasuga at KoKo Plaza, Osaka, Japan
Mixed by Talley Sherwood at TriTone Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Mastered by Peter Doell at AfterMaster Audio Labs, Los Angeles, CA
Studio photographs by Mikel Healey & Dario Griffin
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
WTJU (Dave Rogers)
This is vocalist May Okita's first release. She is accompanied by Josh Nelson (piano) moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to study clinical psychology and added voice studying with numerous performers, including Josh Nelson who plays piano on this disc. Larry Koonse (guitar) also plays on several songs. The songs range from Irving Berlin's "Let's Face The ...
Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
Recorded shortly before she left LA to return to Japan, what can you say about a jazz vocal trio where the other two cats are Josh Nelson and Larry Koonse and you were taught your moves by Tierney Sutton? The set card is mostly familiar tunes done up in a new way giving this a freshness that removes it as far as possible from the cocktail realm. It ...
Jazz Weekly (George W Harris)
Gentle toned vocalist May Okita creates gentle sonatas with the spartan support of guitarist Larry Koonse and pianist Josh Nelson on this delicate collection of standards. Her sandied tone is attractively intimate with Nelson on a alluring "Let's Face the Music and Dance" while Nelson provides streamlike ripples for a contemplative "Both Sides Now. ...
Downbeat (Scott Yanow)
Tokyo-born May Okita spent several years living in Los Angeles, where she studied clinical psychiatry at UCLA and sang in area jazz clubs. Shortly before she returned to Tokyo, Okita recorded Art Of Life in a trio with pianist Josh Nelson and guitarist Larry Koonse. She has a pleasant voice, obviously loves the material here and takes most of t ...