We Release Jazz (WRWTFWW Records’ new sister-label) is thrilled to present the official reissue of criminally overlooked Japanese jazz gem Mellow Dream (1977) by Hokkaido pianist wunderkind Ryo Fukui, released in conjunction with the its legendary predecessor Scenery, sourced from the original masters and available on limited edition 180g vinyl mastered at half speed for audiophile sound, as well as 140g vinyl and digipack CD.
Firmly standing on the foundation he laid down with Scenery, Ryo Fukui continues his exploration of modal, bop and cool jazz sounds with meticulous grace and absolute mastery. As its title suggests, Mellow Dream ventures into slightly mellower, more soulful, and sometimes more contemplative territories (the Bill Evans-reminiscent "Mellow Dream" and "My Foolish Heart") while still packing the commanding punch Fukui’s work is loved for, as heard on the amazingly bombastic "Baron Potato Blues" or the gigantic McCoy Tyner/John Coltrane-influenced "Horizon" which sees each member of the trio (Satoshi Denpo is on bass and Yoshinori Fukui is on drums) demonstrating their virtuosity for 9 exhilarating minutes. With his sophomore album, Ryo Fukui swings from melancholy to vibrant joy with ease, reminding us that jazz is best served with a pinch of blues, and displays an immensely rare combination of pure talent, unique personal approach and focused discipline. The man undeniably deserves a spot in the pantheon of all-time great jazz pianists.
After releasing the outstanding Scenery and Mellow Dream back to back, Ryo Fukui worked on developing his live skills, often performing at Sapporo’s Slowboat Jazz Club (which he co-founded with his wife Yasuko Fukui), and even releasing 2 live albums. He sadly passed away in March 2016, leaving behind a legacy of works that all jazz lovers should explore.