Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fumio Karashima - 1975 - Piranha

Fumio Karashima

01. Little Island (Karashima) - 8:58
02. Lament (Johnson) - 10:44
03. Piranha (Karashima) - 7:38
04. Dedicated to You (Cahn) - 5:04
05. Blue-Th-Ree (Karashima) - 8:04

Fumio Karashima - piano
Isao Suzuki - bass
Jimmy Hopps - drums

Japanese jazz pianist and composer. Born March 9, 1948 in Oita, Japan; died February 24, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. 

After moving to Tokyo, he became a member of George Ohtsuka's group. On the occasion of performing with Elvin Jones in 1978, Karashima became a member of The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine and played in the band for six years. From that time onwards, he was actively performing in the jazz scene in the U.S. and Europe, and established a solid position as one of the top pianists in the world. 

He also began a friendship with the same generation jazz great Motohiko Hino, and formed a trio with him. After that, he broke new ground in playing the solo piano, and continued to develop his skill as a solo pianist. In 1988, he formed the Fumio Karashima Quintet which has been highly acclaimed as a genuine jazz quintet. He was also invited as a soloist by Japan’s top orchestras such as Kenichi Tsunoda Big Band, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra and New Japan Philharmonic, and gave an excellent performance of “Rhapsody in Blue”. In 1994, he released his album “In San Francisco” on which Anthony Williams participated as a member. 

After that, he released “Open the Gate” with all-star performers including Kazumi Watanabe. Also in 1999, he released “Rencontre”, a duo album with a harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans. In this album, he had shown an excellent piano technique that was a bit different from his piano solo works. After that, he formed a new trio with Yosuke Inoue and Shingo Okudaira, and released “The Elysian Air” in 2002 and “It’s Just Beginning” in 2004, both of which were highly acclaimed as masterpieces of piano trio. Also, his live recording from a duo concert with Kei Akagi “Grand New Touch” made a real hit of jazz piano. 

His later works include his collaboration with Jack DeJohnette “Great Time”, his standard solo album “Moon River” in which he played a Fazioli piano regarded as the best piano manufactured in Italy, and his tribute album to Elvin Jones “E. J. Blues – Fumio Karashima meets Takeo Moriyama”.

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