Friday, November 4, 2016

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1971 - Gugan

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 
1971
Gugan



01. Hachi (T.Moriyama) 11:10
02. Ballad for Y.Y. (T.Moriyama) 09:04
03. Take One (T.Moriyama) 10:24
04. Gugan (Y.Yamashita) 07:18

Yosuke Yamashita Trio
Yosuke Yamashita: piano
Seiichi Nakamura: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Takeo Moriyama: drums

Brass 12
Hisahide Katoh: tenor saxophone
Mabumi Yamaguchi: alto saxophone
Kunio Fujisaki: trumpet
Susumu Kazuhara: trumpet
Tohru Oogoshi: trumpet
Kenji Yoshida: trumpet
Masao Suzuki: baritone saxophone
Shigeharu Mukai: trombone
Naoki Takahashi: trombone
Hisashi Nishimura: trombone
Hisashi Imai: trombone
Kyosuke Aikawa: tuba

Recorded by Kenichi Kosuge at Toshiba Studio, September 25, 1971



The big band set-up is quite unusual for Yamashita, but it works very well. In some ways this album resembles something Archie Shepp might have done around the same time, while another influence would have to be Mike Mantler's Jazz Composers Orchestra. Those touchstones are mixed quite effectively with the classic sound of this trio.

"Hachi" starts with flailing speedfreak drumming and Yosuke's standard epileptic piano glissandos, but with some much welcome horn backing from time to time. The horns stab and jab, but play medium tempoed phrases. There's a flighted alto sax solo that's a wonderful counterpoint about halfway through which starts to give
way around 8:30 to the horns and piano smashing and thrashing in bombastic unison. 9:30 finds a pause for drum solo. By 11:15 the horns start layering into a duet with the drums. A thoroughly interesting piece with an obvious head and tail, and plenty of shifting dynamics, colors and contrast in between.

"Ballad for Y.Y." is a fabulously odd one begun and ended by 40 seconds of solo horns that seem to imitate a declining record player thorughout the piece; bringing a mood of the fantastical and pensive with a taste heroin-nodding thrown in. When the piano and drums interject, it's in a dark and taut manner that illicits Italian Horror film soundtracks of the time. Even when spasms overtake the piano and drums it's initially by jags before undertaking a full wall of movement. The sax blears in about halfway through and sticks with an Albert Ayler-ish tone and attack. As they pass the 7 minute mark the group coalleces into an actual unison attack on some phrasing that surely brings to mind JCOA; which eventually drifts back into a near mirrored ending of this tune's beginning. Unique, evocative and powerful.

"Take One" takes up the JCOA torch of group attacked pharses followed by classic YYTrio frenzy. The horns disconnetedly blow some phrases over the top from time to time. Just after the 4 minute mark all but the drums drop out for the start of the wailing sax, which is soon joined by the full group. At 8 minutes everyone drops into a JCOA mode again, followed by the drum solo and a return to the beginning phrases at the end.

The actual tune "Gugan" is a drum solo, with horn interjection, which seems rather odd considering it is written by the pianist?! In fact, the piano doesn't enter the piece until the 4 minute mark. The title comes from an onomatopoeia of the written theme of the title composition, which goes "Gu-gan, Gu-gan, Da-pa-to-ton, Gu-gan, Da-pa-to-ton". You can notice that each solo returns to the theme right after the drummer plays the answering phrase "Da-pa-to-ton". Therefore, other members have to listen to the drums very carefully!

As a Yosuke Yamashita Trio album, GUGAN may be the most approachable for it's use of some standard Jazz techniques usually cast aside by them throughout the 1970s.

2 comments:




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