Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Fine flowing modal music from Mine and his crew (a crack team of the usual j-jazz suspects) from back in '74. This was one of Mine's first outings after switching from alto to tenor and definitely one of his best ever. Also one of the first albums on the very righteous East Wind label. The stately lyrical second track (by Kikuchi) is a standout here, sandwiched between the two high-power numbers penned by Mine. The concept for the cover art is questionable (red gloop as a representation of chaos? Or maybe the art director used this image because s/he was clean out of chaos?). But when it comes to the music, there's nothing lacking here whatsoever!
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. The intimate nature of the title is very apt on this one – as the album features spare duets between drummer Masahiko Togashi and other Japanese musicians – including the great Sadao Watanabe on flute, and either Masahiko Satoh and Masabumi Kikuchi on piano! The sound is open, and sometimes a bit free – but in a way that's very inventive, and never too overpowering – as Togashi finds a way to really keep things grounded, and work in the best collaborative spirit with each musician. A real standout on the East West catalog of the 70s – and titles include "Haze", "Fairy Tale", "Song For Myself", and "Song For My Friends".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. An aggressive bit of funky fusion – a set that matches the talents of Japanese trumpeter Shunzoh Ohno with some hip American grooves from Reggie Lucas on guitar, Cedric Lawson on keyboards, Don Pate on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums! The sound is very full-on – in a mid 70s Miles Davis electric mode, but with perhaps a bit more of a funk touch on the best cuts – almost a refinement of the groove that Miles hit in Japan, fusing the energy into some great tunes that really pack a sharp punch! Haynes' drums are surprisingly heavy at points – and titles include "You Dig That?", "But It's Not So", and "I Remember That It Happened".
A wonderful album from the great Cedar Walton trio that featured Sam Jones on bass and Billy Higgins on drums – a really beautiful group of musicians who completely transformed the sound of the piano trio in the 70s! The group played together often in the 70s, and they've never sounded better than on an album like this – freely soulful and dancing, with Walton in firm command of his talents – sometimes coming on with the strength of his early 60s material, but always opening up with a more exploratory vibe too. Walton worked often in this mode for the decades that followed this set – but this Japanese album is almost the start of that great legacy, and still one of the best from this group! Titles include "Con Alma", "Suite Sunday", "Suntory Blues", and "Fantasy In D".
A brilliant set from Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikuchi – two long, leaping, loping tracks that almost feel like some of McCoy Tyner's best work! Kikuchi plays acoustic piano, and the group's a quartet with Terumasu Hino on trumpet, Koshuke Mine on tenor, Eric Gravatt on drums, and Juni Booth playing some really wonderful bass. Booth's bass leads the tracks with a soulful quality that you don't always hear on Kikuchi's other work – really giving the record a strongly-rooted vibe, while the musicians are still free to really open up and explore. The album's tracks, "East Wind" and "Green Dance", are both excellent examples of the soulful freedoms allowed in the Japanese scene of the 70s – side-long numbers that are different both from contemporary performances on both the US and European scenes of the period.
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Dollar Brand playing solo – but with a vibrancy that hardly makes you miss the other instruments at all! Most of the record features solo piano, but there's also a bit of bamboo flute as well – leading off the set and establishing this great organic vibe to the whole thing, which is then followed by Brand's long-spun, completely hypnotic lines on piano! The recording quality is wonderful – very clear and strong, and quite resonant too – and the set features two side-long long suites – "Africa" and "Reflection" – with shorter passages that move through the warm range of moods you'd find in Brand's other strong work from the time. Titles include "Ancient Africa", "Msunduza", "Single Petal Of A Rose", and "African Sun".
Reissue with DSD remastering. A strong 70s recording by a group that was mostly known as the Cedar Walton trio – the group of Sam Jones on bass, Walton on piano, and Billy Higgins on drums – recorded only for the Japanese market, and a heck of a record! The set's got one standout feature that sets it apart from some of the other sides by the Walton group at the time – the use of a string quartet on a few of the tracks, which creates some great interplay between the core trio and the augmented strings.
A great live set from Sadao Watanabe – one that shows the wealth of influences he'd been drawing on, from post-Coltrane spirituality, to African-oriented rhythms, to a slight bit of funk! The group's great – with Watanabe on flute, alto, and soprano sax, Takehiro Honda on Fender Rhodes and piano, Kazumi Watanabe on guitar, plus added bass, trombone, and percussion – and we especially like Honda's keyboards, which make any session like this an instant treat! The album's got a warm, soulful feeling, but a sharper edge than most of Watanabe's smoother work of the time – and titles include "Hiro", "Maraica", "Wana Tanzania", and "Mathari Terbenam".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. A pretty great little fusion set from saxophonist Sam Morrison – as slinky, sloping, and seductive as the title – and a record that might have been right at home on CTI! The album features all original tunes by Morrison – played with a very cool group that includes Al Foster on drums, Buster Williams on bass, Mike Wolf on Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano, and Ryo Kawasaki on guitar. Morrison shifts effortlessly between soprano, flute, and tenor – working in a mode that's choppy, but never too over the top – dancing along in a lyrical, soulful mode! Titles include "Wonder", "Dune", "Song Of Landa", and "I Knew It Right Away".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. This album from 1976 is widely considered as one of the best, if not THE best, four-beat jazz albums by Sadao Watanabe, the legendary Japanese saxophonist. Watanabe went to New York, met with the original Great Jazz Trio – Hank Jones, Ron Carter and Tony Williams – before the super-group became well-known for its superb recordings.