Master swordsman Masayuki Shimabukuro and top student Carl E. Long explain the basic techniques of samurai swordsmanship, as well as convey the rich history and rituals that surround the extraordinary weapon. In the debut installment, the instructors cover mat cutting, forms, uniform care, sword etiquette, cleaning your weapon, thrusts, drawing and sheathing the sword and more. Shimabukuro is a Black Belt Hall of Famer.
This recording dating from 1970 is duo free improvisation from two of the Japanese avant-garde music scene's most vital practitioners. Both have since passed on and left some of the most challenging music in the world of post- jazz improvisation. It has been said that this duo are like the Tokyo equivalent of Derek Bailey and Evan Parker and it is easy to see why. Some the New Direction Unit recordings of the '60 predate noise and free improvised music of the following decades in that they deployment of feedback-guitar and noise are frankly shocking when we consider the culture and the era in which these were produced. Fans of the extreme end of improvised music – be it Sonny Sharrock, Peter Brotzmann, or Borbetomagus should give at least an hour of your attention to this incredible recording – this could only be matched by the singular music of Cecil Taylor for total outward-bound energy. Exceptional recording fidelity and production on the Japanese D.I.W label, this is a must for collectors of free jazz and Japanese noise alike.
Since making his debut as a leader with 2001's At Last, Marcus Strickland has established a reputation as a composer of remarkable depth and breadth. On Nihil Novi, his first Blue Note offering, Strickland showcases a new band – trumpeter Keyon Harrold, keyboardists Mitch Henry and Masayuki Hirano, bassist Kyle Miles, and drummer Charles Haynes. His new tunes offer an even greater array of styles, harmonic textures, and dynamics, and reveal his preoccupation with hip-hop beatmaking. (This isn't a jazz/hip-hop fusion record.) Nihil Novi was expertly and empathetically produced by Meshell Ndegeocello, who also guests on bass. Strickland also brings in some old friends and allies, including Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, Pino Palladino, and Chris Bruce.
Ben Williams, winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition, releases his 2nd album, Coming of Age, building upon his musical experiences over the last several years. Since then, Ben has played and toured with a long list of jazz musicians: Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride Big Band, Nicholas Payton, Paquito D'Rivera, Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Golson, George Duke, Eric Reed, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, and Mulgrew Miller and many others. Coming of Age features covers of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" & Lianne La Havas' "Lost & Found" and includes special guests: Goapele, vocals on Voice of Freedom (for Mandela), Christian Scott (trumpet), Stefon Harris (vibraphonist) & emcee W. Ellington Felton.