1st album "Art of Life" アート・オブ・ライフ (Origin Records)
Produced by May Okita & Josh Nelson
May Okita - Vocals / Josh Nelson - Piano, Arrangements / Larry Koonse - Guitar (tracks 3,5,7,9)
Recorded by Talley Sherwood, at TriTone Studios, Los Angeles, CA, USA on May 1 and 2, 2018
Additional recording on "Blue Rose" by Mineo Kasuga, at KoKo Plaza, Osaka, Japan
Mastered by Peter Doell, Mastering Engineer, at AfterMaster Audio Labs, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
Booklet design by Tetsuya Hoshino (available from May’s website - written in Japanese only)
Photographs by Mikel Healey & Dario Griffin
Makeup and Hair Artist: Stephanie Scholz
Jewelry Designer: Naoko Zaima (The Sheek)
You can buy directly from the May Okita online store! If you wish to have May's autograph, please write your name in the remarks column.
■2020.2.12「Art of Life」の日本語版がリリースされました。
Tower Records Online https://tower.jp/item/5012407/
OKITA has a pleasant voice and obviously loves the material. Highlights include “Both Sides Now”, a transformation of “Detour Ahead” into a waltz, and a swinging version of “What a Difference A Day Made”
After a stint in Los Angeles and before returning to her native Tokyo, May Okita recorded this refreshingly lightweight album with musical collaborators Larry Koonse on guitar and Josh Nelson on piano. There’s an uplifting, simplistic quality to this set, which is mostly jazz standard fare but also contains one of Okita’s own compositions.
Okita’s vocal has a pleasant quality, coming across as slightly ephemeral; she lightly touches the surface of notes rather than delving more deeply into them. This is more an album of feeling, of style, than anything ground-breaking.
Okita’s petite vocal works best on straight ballads like Both Sides Now. She also gives a rather poignant reading of Randy Newman’s song for abandoned toys from Toy Story 2, When She Loved Me. Smile is another example of a ballad sung with tender sensitivity by Okita.
This is a quiet album, with no fireworks or bombast, but certainly glimmers of sincerity that are all the more appealing in their understatement.
Jazz Journal REVIEWS By Sally Evans-Darby – May 18, 2019
MAY OKITA/Art of Life: 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 might be sitting down listening but it certainly gets your pulse racing---even in it's laid back moments. (Origin 82771)
MIDWEST RECORD, Volume 43/Number 78 January 18, 2019 - Written by CHRIS SPECTOR
"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 an alluring “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” while Nelson provides streamlike ripples for a contemplative “Both Sides Now.” A troubadour’d take of “Detour Ahead” has Okita in a breathy form as she floats over Koonses classy strings, and is fluffy with the two on a read of the rarely done Ellington piece, the cheerful “Blue Rose.” She is coy while cooing on “What A Difference A Day Makes” and conversant on “Shen She Loved Me.” Unpretentiously attractive. "
Jazz Weekly REVIEWS - March 14, 2019, written by GEORGE W. HARRIS
The concept of this album is to honestly express the subtleties of the human heart: Pleasure and sorrow, love and hate, hope and despair, relief and worry, passion and calmness, peace and discomposure...
Everyone has conflicts inside and strive to live better. Life is a different yet irreplaceable story for each person. Life is a very special, unique, and beautiful “art" by nature.
This album can be enjoyed from a musical standpoint, but I would hope that it would also give your life clarity and space.
You'll hear each story told one by one... It will be a natural conversation between your heart and us.
Josh & Larry are two very special musicians to me. They represent the current Los Angeles' Jazz scene where my music and voice developed.
I hope it will take you on a cozy, warm and emotional journey.