Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yuji Imamura & Air - 1977 - Air

Yuji Imamura & Air

01. Air Part I 19:30
02. Air Part II 18:10

Congas, Tabla, Tabla [Amplified], Percussion – Yuji Imamura
Drums [Yamaha], Tambourine, Cowbell, Percussion – Hiroshi Murakami
Electric Bass [With Echo Chamber, Para Pedal & Pedal Flanger] – Nobuyoshi Ino
Electric Guitar, Kalimba [Sanza], , Electronics [Hawk Echo Machine] – Renkichi Hayashi
Flute, Saxophone, Sho, Voice, Synthesizer, Percussion, Electronics [Radio] – Yasuo Shimura

Recorded at Epicurus Studio, Tokyo on April 12 & 20, 1977.

Two side long tracks clearly influenced by the deep funk groove of mid 70s Miles Davis albums like "Dark Magus", "Agharta", and "Pangaea". No trumpet, but the saxophone is instead treated to sound similar. Much more flute and spaced out than classic Miles, but still plenty of wah wah guitar and dual percussion to get down with. A few jazzers from Japan were highly influenced by Miles Davis, and percussionist Imamura is one of the finest emulators I've heard to date.

Percussionist Yuji Imamura is a nominal leader of the group called Air, which had been formed shortly before this recording, but he says in the Japanese liner notes that the group is completely democratic and everyone participates in the same footing.

This album was recorded in two days, and the two tracks included were performed "live" in the studio with no editing or overdubs. And these are completely free collective improvisations - they did not have anything written down and just started playing. The only constraint was the time limit of about 19 minutes for each track to be cut on a side of an LP. The unique group sound was achieved by the use of various instruments by each musician, including electric instruments and effects.

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