- Masahiko Sato/ Arrangement , Electric Piano,
- Toshiyuki Miyama/ Conductor
- Masao Kunisada/ Bass
- Masaru Hiromi/ Drums
- Kozaburo Yamamoto/ Guitar
- Yoshinobu Imashiro/ Piano
- Kazumi Oguro, Shinji Nakayama/ Saxophone [Alto]
- Miki Matsui/ Saxophone [Baritone]
- Kiyoshi Saito, Shoji Maeda/ Saxophone [Tenor]
- Masamichi Uetaka, Seiichi Tokura, Takeshi Aoki, Teruhiko Kataoka/ Trombone
- Bunji Murata, Kenichi Sano, Koji Hadori, Kunio Fujisaki/ Trumpet
"What a wild beast!" was the first thought that ran through my head upon listening to this album. Holy moly! What we've got here is equal measures imaginative big band leanings and ferocious fusion layers that never quite spell out jazz rock yet come very close. The splicing of famous jazz cats on Yamataifu is equally impressive as it is baffling - consisting of the famous Japanese big band conductor Toshiyuki Miyama, who at the time of this recording was 52(!), and the well renowned pianist Masahiko Satoh who went on to become one of Japan's most influential players.
Starting off with an ominous whiff of horns - a brooding dark wave of droning winds, Yamataifu reveals an unearthly musical presence - making this listener feel as if he was swimming through slush ice soil, upwards and away on grainy droopy sandpaper wings. The stagnant floating earth starts rumbling in tiny jitters as small rhythmic splashes dipper dapper their way into the mix. Immeasurable sounds suddenly emanate from way in the back and there's no telling whether we're treated to guitars, synths or the local back alley cat trying to push it's way through the mouth piece of a bassoon. It builds up slowly and the younger audiences will probably write it off as proto post rock with trinkets of insatiable whirlwind effects and bubbling energies.......but this is so much more - a blast from the past! A calculated storm in your skull.
Soon the jazz beat commences - the doouab shidioouuii babab bidouiuuoii badahh badaah and everything disintegrates - in all directions no less. Furious piano sprints, bopping bass lines and oddly played horn sections that threaten to overtake the airspace of mosquitoes and all those critters who fancy their flying adventures to be square and angular.
This is essentially avantguarde jazz with a big bootful of grooves. Add to that an uncanny way about spacey infusions such as sequencers, atonal wind instruments and frantically played Santana-like percussion. The whole thing feels like it's happening on a dime - on a cloud somewhere high above the earth, where musicians come to whack out and fill themselves with psychedelic plants, irreverent books and hip females who adore the strangeness of it all.
Take a bit of 'Atlantis' era Sun Ra, a dash of Mwandishi sorcery, a pinch of Miles and a teeny tiny touch of ayahuasca and you're nearly there. Again relegating just exactly how this sounds and moreover feels is rather like fitting a dinosaur into a phone booth. There's no room and one of those things is increasingly hard to get a hold of these days.