Jazz Coner.com

Written by Robert Sutton.

REVIEW, “The Trio. ”

It’s fitting that the coffeehouse jazz of Keiko Ito is lighter than air. After all, how else could you complement a voice that soars through the skies?

Ito’s vocals, glowing with the youthful innocence and emotional warmth of Karen Carpenter, are deceptively coy in her latest EP, The Trio. On the opening cut, “Bewitched,” Ito’s soft, sweet delivery caresses the ears, reflecting the fragility of the spare acoustic guitars. But the calm beauty of her voice is only the beginning; when Ito aims for the high notes, her singing truly ascends.

Even if you can’t understand the words to “Kaerenai Futari,” there’s no denying the lullaby loveliness of Ito’s vocal work, swaying back and forth to the minimalist rhythms of the guitar. There is no doubt that this lady had her skills sharpened by studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. This is not an unpolished talent; she delivers strong, evocative performances worthy of a seasoned veteran.