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  • Jonathan Widran

YUKA MITO, Love in the City

Considering the exciting phrasing, grand emotional power, keen sense of swing and (especially) explosive scatting Yuka Mito brings to her latest album Love in the City, it might surprise folks to realize that the Tokyo born and raised singer didn’t start singing until she was 23. After performing Japanese and American pop songs in clubs, she moved to New York in her late 20s to attend the Brooklyn Queens Conservatory of Music, where she majored in jazz.

True to its title, the seven-track collection – her first album in 12 years - is clearly an homage to her adopted hometown and the way it facilitated her passion and subsequent mastery for the art form.

Working effortlessly with her longtime trio of pianist-arranger Allen Farnham, bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Tim Horner, she complements dazzling, high energy romps like “I Got Rhythm” (which features a little heard opening verse and literally explodes with a thunderstorm of percussive scat) and “I’ll Remember April” with a beautiful, sensitive rendering of “My Funny Valentine,” a sly stroll through “Love Me or Leave Me” and impactful originals like the spirited swinger “Love in the City” (an image-rich filled love letter to NYC) and the reflective, Japanese language ballad “Memory of Father.”


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