Friday, February 10, 2017

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited - 1972 - Drum Method

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited
1972
Drum Method




01. Runaway Child
02. Smack Water Jack
03. Child Of Storm
04. Pourquoi.pas?
05. Where Do You Go From Here
06. Drum Concert 1
07. Fibonaccis Number
08. Blue Rondo A La Turk
09. Maiden Voyage
10. Drum Concert 2
11. Sleeper
12. Seven Four

Takeshi Inomata_drums
Norio Maeda_piano, electric piano
Yusuke Hoguchi_organ
Kimio Mizutani_guitar
Toshiaki Yokota_flute
Shunzo Ohno_trumpet
Jake H. Concepcion_saxophone




The third album of Takeshi Inomata with his progressive jazz rock band, the Sound Limited featuring pianist Norio Maeda. The line-up consists on the same formation as for the Sound Of Sound L.T.D. record, released two years earlier, except guitarists Ryo Kawasaki & Shinegori Kamiya who left the band. Titles include crossover jazz in the same vein as the Chicago band (Jazz Rock tunes with Funk/Soul inspirations), two amazing Inomata' drum break solos (Drum Concert I & II), Sleeper & Seven Four by Norio Maeda, Pourquoi Pas? by Michel Colombier, and the jazz standards  Maiden Voyage by Herbie Hancock & Dave Brubeck' Blue Rondo A La Turk. All tracks arranged by Norio Maeda.

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited - 1971 - Innocent Canon

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited 
1971
Innocent Canon





01. Introduction (5:57)
02. The Death Of Janis (4:00)
03. Go For Nothing (7:28)
04. Child And I (4:03)
05. Blue (5:11)
06. Alone (7:15)
07. Epilog (2:19)

Tenmei Kano_narrator
Takeshi Inomata_drums
Jun Suzuki_bass
Kimio Mizutani_guitar, sitar
Shigehito Ohara_keyboards
Osamu Nakajima_percussion
Toshiaki Yokota_flutes
Jake H. Concepcion_soprano, alto & tenor saxophone, flute
Shunzo Ohno_trumpet, flugelhorn
Takehisa Suzuki_trumpet, flugelhorn
Shigemichi Domoto_trombone, vibraphone

Recorded on February 21, 1971



Concept album by Takeshi Inomata & his Sound Limited progressive jazz group, featuring the young Shunzo Ohno, Kimio Mizutani, Toshiaki Yokota, Jun Suzuki or Jake H. Concepcion, playing with a large ensemble of instruments (percussions, vibraphone, sitar, flutes & others horns). Titles include Free Forms of Jazz, experimental sounds, Psychedelic & Art Rock associated to a mystical narration performed by special guest, the japanese photographer Noriaki 'Tenmei' Kannoh, in seven tracks composed & arranged by Takeshi Inomata himself.

One of the matchlessly eccentric sound kaleidoscopes - even in Japan every reviewer called him as a musician with a warped soundscape. Yes, he might be a confuser (in a good sense). Amazingly, Takeshi promoted Noriaki KANOH, a young and promising photographer, to a narrator (free talker?) in this album. Such a strategy we could not find in another one in 1971. Anyway, 1971 was a golden year for Japanese progressive rock scene, as I've mentioned again and again ... and the credit of Kimio MIZUTANI can be found on lots of album sleeves in that year. Even in 'Innocent Canon', Kimio's aggressive guitar solo can lead all instruments and all listeners. And yeah, Takeshi's strict drumming absolutely can support this 'air' and 'ground'. The narration by Noriaki (currently he's called 'Tenmei' though) is sometimes lazy, sometimes unique, and sometimes ardent. Mysteriously, for me his talk was boring previously, but to listen to this stuffs again and again has interested me in his fuzzy fascination for music.

This album cannot be discussed only under the category of jazz-rock, though Takeshi was (and is) a renowned Japanese jazz drummer indeed. Kimio's heavy guitar and ethnic sitar, Toshiaki YOKOTA's mind-altering flute, and especially Noriaki's flat narration - all elements can make these songs more psychedelic and more avantgarde. Listen to the first track "Introduction" directly ... heavy, headaching, hypnotic riffs and enthusiastic but level narrations are very typical upon Japanese psychedelic progressive rock scene in the early 70s. In the next "The Death Of Janis" (dedicated to Janis Joplin) Toshiaki's flute solo is very mind-blowing, in spite of Noriaki's sensitive talk. The third "Go For Nothing" has violent 'NO!' voices and at the same time a delightful, pleasant jazz ensemble ... this contrast is wonderful. "Alone", the sixth, is very impressive with Oriental fragile mood by Kimio's sitar. We feel impulsive tension even in the last song "Epilog", where Atsushi SUZUKI's whistle be very comfortable indeed.

Highly recommended as a very strange footprint on Japanese music scene.

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited - 1970 - Sounds of Sound L.T.D

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited 
1970 
Sounds of Sound L.T.D





01. Theme ~ Mustache (8:02)
02. Tak's Tune (4:23)
03. Joint (4:58)
04. Monster (4:29)
05. Lullaby For Yuh (3:12)
06. Scotland Scene (6:53)
07. Theme (1:03)

Jun Suzuki: Bass
Takeshi Inomata: Drums
Toshiaki Yokota: Flute
Ryo Kawasaki: Guitar
Shigenori Kamiya: Guitar
Yusuke Hoguchi: Organ
Takao Uematsu: Tenor Saxophone
Shigemichi Domoto: Trombone
Takashi Imai: Trombone
Shunzo Ohno: Trumpet
Takashi Kumagai: Trumpet

Recorded in March 1970. Originally released 1970 on Columbia in Japan under the 'label' "Groove Sound Series".



Takeshi INOMATA, currently known as one of the most renowned and most influential jazz drummers in Japan, was born at Takarazuka, Japan in 1936. His father (an oboist of Takarazuka Revue Company), his elderly brother (a genius jazz trumpeter), and The Benny Goodman Orchestra whose album he had again and again listened to in his teenaged days could influence much on him and as a result he appeared on stage as a drummer at age 16. His terrific talent and enthusiasm for drumming surprisingly improve and develop his technique, that could let himself win the prize of Swing Journal Magazine's newcomer award in 1957. He showed his ability of jazz drumming in US Camps (later he mentioned he had played drums with smell of butter and hamburger steaks around him) and joined for a jazz outfit Westliners, but an enthusiasm that he wanted to play borderless music made him form SOUND L.T.D. (Limited), a progressive jazz-rock outfit. In those days such a mysterious and perverse creation might confuse every rock & jazz fan and reviewer. Now Takeshi makes a large contribution toward training younger jazz musicians and making a record of the history of Japanese jazz, and simultaneously stands on many worldwide stages , e.g. Carnegie Hall or Apollo Theater.

Essential, unforgettable & most valuable rare groove LP, Sounds Of Sound L.T.D. is a classic from the Japanese Jazz Rock scene, recorded by the great jazz drummer, Takeshi Inomata. Inomata is one of the best known japanese jazz musicians, born into a musical family, who, under the influence of his brother and after have heard the Gene Krupa performance on Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman, decided him to become professional drummer. In the early sixties, he was enrolled in the Hidehiko Matsumoto Quintet, played several times for Helen Merrill (In Tokyo '63, Plaisir D'amour '69, Sings The Beatles '70), with Teddy Wilson, Hiroshi Suzuki, in the Mal Waldron Trio and later, was sideman for pianist Norio Maeda (in groups Norio Maeda Trio, The Wind-Breakers in 1978). In the late sixties, he formed The Sound Limited Jazz Rock group based on his previous band, The West Liners, with some of its members featuring Toshiaki Yokota, Jun Suzuki, Ryo Kawasaki, Takashi Imai & the young Shunzo Ohno. Titles includes psychedelic grooves, Big Band sessions, great solo flute, organ & drum strong beat on Mustache (which ends by the Hey Jude chorus), the massive and dynamic funky Joint, the psychedelic rock Tak's Tune and the melodic jazz, Monster.

Ryo Kawasaki - 1983 - Lucky Lady

Ryo Kawasaki 
1983
Lucky Lady




01. Lucky Lady 6:00
02. Looking For You 4:28
03. Secret Of The Wing 6:36
04. Long Time Before You Were Born 1:05
05. Caravan 5:08
06. Forlane 4:30
07. Sophisticated Lady 6:40
08. Rondes Printanieres 2:10

Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
Synthesizer – Ryo Kawasaki
Written By – Ryo Kawasaki
\
Bass tracks performed on Roland TB-303, Guitar Synthesizer. Drum tracks performed on Roland TR-808 & sound affects programmed on Commodore 64 Computer by R. Kawasaki. All guitar (electric) solos played on Yamaha SA-2000 Custom Guitar.

Note: All synthesizer sounds you hear on this album are produced by R. Kawasaki's custom Guitar Synthesizer.

Recorded & mixed at Satellite Station in New York City. (Feb & Mar 1983) by R. Kawsaki. Final master transfered at The Ranch by R. Kawsaki & Robert Norris.

Special thanks to Gil Evans, Teo Macero and Kiyoshi Koyama for helping me with the ideas and their love for music and musicians.



Ryo Kawasaki may be best-known as a premier jazz guitarist, as exemplified on one of his his recent albums (Sweet Life on Satellites Records), but by skillfully mixing sound with science, he also has built a reputation as the quintessential "supermodern" artist who is as much an inventor and engineer as a musician.

His multi-faceted career has included being an electronics engineer, physics student, top studio session guitarist, amateur astronomer, semi-professional-level pool player, mainstream jazz guitarist, music software computer programmer, rhythm-track specialist, engineer, arranger, record company executive, and producer of many musical styles (jazz, acid jazz, hip-hop, dance, Brazilian, acoustic instrumental).

Born in Toyko, Japan, Ryo (pronounced like Rio) came to the United States and settled in New York City in 1973. He immediately became a sought-after sideman in the jazz scene and soon was touring and recording with such talents as Gil Evans, trumpeter Ted Curson, drummers Elvin Jones and Chico Hamilton, pianist JoAnne Bracken, flutist Bobbie Humphries, singer Joe Lee Wilson, saxophonist Dave Liebman and other jazz greats. Kawasaki's discography contains some 30 solo albums as well as producing or being featured on more than 30 additional projects.

In year 2003, Kawasaki has further expanded his live appearances into Russia and Baltic region Jazz Festivals. His current quartet has appeared at Rigas Ritmi Jazz Festival in June 26-27, 2003 in Riga/Latvia as well as Capahck(Saransk) Jazz Ark Festival Oct 10-12, 2003, Saransk is a Capital of Mordovia Republic located 1,000 km east from Moscow. He also appeared with flutist Chip Shelton and Saxophonist Ray Blue at Nõmme Jazz Festival 2003 Oct 24-25 in Estonia. Aside from these festivals, he has been appearing many other jazz venues in Baltic and Scandinavian countries.

In high school he began hanging out at coffee-houses that featured live music, formed a jazz ensemble and built an electric organ that served as a primitive synthesizer. By the time he was 16, his band was playing professionally in cabarets and strip joints. Although he continued to play music regularly, he attended Nippon University, majored in physics and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree. He also did some teaching and contest judging at the Yamaha musical instrument manufacturer's jazz school. Additionally he worked as a sound engineer for Japanese Victor Records and BGM/TBS Music where he learned mixing and editing.

He recorded his first solo album for Polydor Records when he was 22. Although he continued to perform with his jazz group, and at a young age was voted the #3 jazz guitarist in a Japanese jazz poll, Ryo spent most of the next three years working as studio musician on everything from advertising jingles to pop songs. "I made a great deal of money, but I finally burned out on that scene." He recorded his second album for Toshiba when he was 24. He played with B.B. King at a blues festival and also met George Benson (they jammed for five hours at Ryo's house).

In 1973, Kawasaki arrived in New York. A friend picked him up at the airport and offered him an immediate gig with Joe Lee Wilson playing at the Lincoln Jazz Center as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. Soon Ryo was jamming regularly as part of the jazz community's "loft scene," and was invited to play with Bobbie Humphries. A few months later, Ryo walked up to his apartment and found a stranger waiting for him at his front door. It was Gil Evans and he invited Ryo to join The Gil Evans Orchestra (David Sanborn, Howard Johnson, Tom Malone) which was then working on a jazz recording of Jimi Hendrix compositions.

Hendrix had dreamed up the concept with Evans, but Jimi died a week before the project started. Kawasaki also played on another Gil Evans album on RCA, There Comes a Time, with Tony Williams on drums. Ryo rehearsed for a month with the third edition of Tony Williams' Lifetime, but Tony left to spend a year in Europe before the band got the chance to perform in public.

Kawasaki followed in the footsteps of Gabor Szabo and Larry Coryell by becoming the guitarist in the Chico Hamilton Band, playing on a U.S. tour and working on various film scores that Chico recorded in Hollywood. Ryo made his debut U.S. album, Juice, in 1976 for RCA and was one of the first Japanese jazz artists to sign with a major label in the States. Sidemen on the project included Tom Coster (Santana) and Sam Morrison (Miles Davis). Kawasaki followed that recording with two more albums, Prism and Eight Mile Road, for the Japanese label East Wind. He also joined the Elvin Jones Band for a year-long tour of North and South America and Europe. By 1978, Kawasaki was tired of touring with other bands and returned to his own projects.

He explored East Indian music, learned ragas and recorded an Audio Fidelity album, Ring Toss, that combined eastern and western music. With Dave Liebman he recorded Nature's Revenge for the German MPS label and they toured Europe. Ryo also toured European jazz festivals with JoAnne Brackeen. He recorded a pair of albums for Timeless Records in Holland. In Japan, Sony's Open Sky label signed Ryo for three albums -- Mirror of my Mind, Little Tree and Live -- the latter, recorded in a Tokyo club, was one of the first all-digital recordings. "Although I sometimes still perform with a live band, those albums were my last recordings with a live rhythm section. Every album since I have created synthetic rhythm sections in the studio."

Kawasaki invented his own guitar synthesizer in 1979, and used it to perform numerous solo shows at planetariums from 1980 to 1983. He also formed the jazz-rock group The Golden Dragon and performed concerts regularly in the Eighties. Fostex developed the first quarter- inch-tape, eight-track recorder and asked Ryo to be the first artist to use it. He recorded the album Ryo in 1981 for Phillips Records and gained notoriety for creating all the music himself. He played only a nylon-string acoustic guitar with all his backing tracks created on his guitar synthesizer. He did another similar recording, Lucky Lady, the next year.

When the Commodore 64 computer came out with a sound-chip in it, Kawasaki became fascinated by the possibilities. He learned to write computer programs and devoted 16-hours-a-day for two years creating four music software programs -- Kawasaki Synthesizer, Kawasaki Rhythm Rocker, Kawasaki Magical Musicquill and Kawasaki MIDI Work-station -- distributed by Sight and Sound Music. The first three programs were for school and home use, and the last one was for professional studios. He created an all-synthesized album, Images, in 1987; and the soundtrack, Pleasure Garden, in 1990 for an IMAX film about the preservation of the earth's endangered tropical rain forests.

From 1986 to 1990, Kawasaki produced a series of high-charting 12-inch dance singles -- "Electric World," "One Kiss," "No Expectations," "Say Baby I Love You," "Don't Tell Me," "Wildest Dreams," "Life is The Rhythm" and "Acid Heat" -- that mixed free-style, house, acid house and ambient sounds. All of the production was done at his home studio, The Satellite Station, and the records were released on his own label, Satellites Records.

His band and a dance troupe also performed extensively in New York dance clubs. In addition, for five years (1988 to 1993), Kawasaki was the New York producer and director of two Japanese national weekly music radio programs, "The Music Now" and "Idex Music Jam." In 1991, Kawasaki's musical direction took another dramatic turn when he was signed by the new jazz and adult contemporary Japanese label One Voice as an artist and producer. Ryo's return to jazz, and his first album for the label, was the 1992 acoustic solo guitar album "Here, There and Everywhere" (released on One Voice in Japan and on Satellites Records in the U.S.).

Kawasaki has produced and performed on two albums by Brazilian singer and guitarist Camila Benson for the labels. Ryo's has continued to release a steady string of albums -- the acoustic "My Reverie" (music from Bill Evans, Debussy, Ravel and Gershwin), the electric jazz guitar-oriented "Love Within The Universe" (which received considerable airplay across the country), Remixes Remixes Vol. 1 (also featuring Benson) and "Mirror of my Mind" (a jazz ensemble recording with Harvey Mason, Michael Brecker, Anthony Jackson, Leon Pendarvis and vocalist Radha Shottam).

Just as mesmerizing as Ryo's guitar playing is his use of innovative rhythm patterns on many of his projects. Those rhythms range from straight-ahead jazz to pop-rock to Latin to hip-hop urban sounds. "When I was a child, my parents listened to a lot of Cuban dance music and those are the first rhythms that captivated me. Rock music took off in the Sixties with the big beat. Then I played with great jazz drummers like Chico and Elvin Jones in the Seventies and they taught me a great deal about rhythm. Elvin conducted the dynamics of the music in his band and told the story of life through his drums. All of these influences helped me when I started programming my own rhythms for dance and jazz recordings over the past 15 years."

Most of Kawasaki's recordings are combinations of meticulously-crafted rhythms, backing tracks containing a wide variety of melodic sounds, occasional voices, and emotional improvisational guitar readings. "In truth, everything is improvisational. It doesn't matter whether you are playing a guitar or a new instrument like a computer. Anytime you make music you are playing with your knowledge, your libraries of information and your skill. There is a technology revolution going on. Some people rise with it while others are conservative and resistant and are left in the past. I say accept the change and you will have a more positive perspective about life."

Ryo Kawasaki - 1980 - Live

Ryo Kawasaki 
1980
Live




01. Agana 6:54
02. Guiding Light 6:05
03. Comes The Night 8:26
04. Medley a) Thunder - b) Sea Gypsys 12:28
05. Tomorrow's Dreams 8:10


Electric Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer – Ryo Kawasaki
Drums – Buddy Williams
Electric Bass – Lincoln Goines
Vocals – Hana Morillo

Recorded live at Roppongi PIT INN
and CBS/SONY Roppongi Studio,
Tokyo on October 16, 17, 18, 1980




In the days before “smooth jazz,” there was fresh, live fusion which screamed and soared on impossible permutations of rhythm and timing. This gonzo era is the setting for a newly re-mastered reissue of Ryo Kawasaki and the Golden Dragon Live (Sony/Satellites VACV-0007; 41:42), which documents a series of Tokyo club concerts from 1980. The recording not only shows off what a Van Halen-ish shredder Kawasaki used to be (witness the wicked riffs of “Agana” and the wild, screaming soloing on the eastern-inflected “Comes the Night”), but is also notable as a landmark in sound technology history. Live was one of the first live digital recordings, tapping into the power of Sony’s first digital two-track-the precursor to CD or DAT. It also shows off Kawasaki’s innovation on the Mesozoic version of today’s guitar synth, which back then was a 500 lb. monster that airport officials could not identify (the liner note story is hilarious!). With that said, the sound quality on the new disc (which includes “enhanced CD” computer features) is excellent, popping off the speakers with intensity. The stories behind the recording make newly relevant off-key warbler Ilana Iguana’s lyrics: “tomorrow’s dreams are not as far away as they seem.”

Ryo Kawasaki - 1980 - Little Tree

Ryo Kawasaki 
1980 
Little Tree




01. Midnight Fire Engine 3:17
02. Brief Message 0:28
03. Looking Around You 4:30
04. Capricho Arabe (Serenade For Guitar) 4:20
05. Quasar Infection 4:38
06. Stella By Starlight 2:44
07. You Are Like The Starlight 6:14
08. Maximillian 4:40
09. Little Tree 5:57
10. Jamiko (Chimiko) 4:47


Arranged By, Electric Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer – Ryo Kawasaki

Recorded And Remixed at Sound Ideas Studios In New York, on March April 1980.




This 1980 classic has long been heralded as a fusion ground-breaking release, feat. innovative use of synthesizer combined w. improvised jazz & high energy rock; Golden Dragon is Buddy Williams, Lincoln Gaines, Nana, Ilana Iguana

Ryo Kawasaki - 1979 - Mirror of My Mind

Ryo Kawasaki 
1979
Mirror of My Mind




01. In & Out of Love
02. Trinkets & Things
03. Little One
04. Dreams for Radha Part I, II & III
05. Braziliana
06. Winter's Here
07. I've Found the Way
08.Trinkets & Things (Radio Edit)
09. In & Out of Love (Radio Edit)

Ryo Kawasaki (Electric guitar, acoustic guitar)
Leon Pendarvis (Electric piano, arrangement, conducting)
Anthony Jackson (Electric bass)
Harvey Mason (Drums)
Rubens Bassini (Percussion)
Michael Brecker (Tenor saxophone)
Radha Shottom (Radha Thomas) (Vocals)



Ryo Kawasaki - 1978 - Nature's Revenge

Ryo Kawasaki 
1978 
Nature's Revenge




01. Nature's Revenge 6:21
02. Body And Soul 4:21
03. Choro 2:44
04. The Straw That Broke The Lion's Back 6:31
05. Thunderfunk 6:33
06. Predudio No. 2 3:00
07. Snowstorm 11:33

Bass, Percussion – Alex Blake
Drums, Percussion – Buddy Williams
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
Engineer – Gibbs Platen
Producer – Joachim-Ernst Berendt
Saxophone [Tenor And Alto] – Dave Liebman


Recorded at Tonstudio Zuckerfabrik, Stuttgart, Germany, February/March 1978



Ryo Kawasaki - 1977 - Ring Toss

Ryo Kawasaki 
1977
Ring Toss




01. Tane's Dream Part I
02. Suite In D
03. Sombrero
04. In A Sentimental Mood
05. Frostbite
06. Tane's Dream Part II / Tane's Dream Part III
07. Sarabande (From Suite In E Minor)
08. Bones

Alto Saxophone – Wilfredo Velez
Cello – Martha Siegal
Congas, Percussion – Abdullah Muhammad Abdullah
Drums – Buddy Williams
Electric Bass [Alembic] – Alex Blake
Flute [Bamboo] – Steve Gorn
Guitar [Electric, Steel String Acoustic, Classical, Koto], Arranged By – Ryo Kawasaki
Percussion, Other [Sound Effects] – Armen Halburian
Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Synthesizer [Arp Odyssey, Arp String Ensemble], Arranged By [String Synthesizer] – Larry Willis
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flute – Sam Morrison
Tabla – Badal Roy
Trombone – Charles Stephens
Trumpet – Billy Noftsinger, Otto A. Gomez
Vocals – Rhada Shottam

Recording: September, October 1977



Jazz fusion guitarist Ryo Kawasaki was born in Toyko, Japan, on February 25, 1947. Although he originally planned on becoming a scientist, Kawasaki put an end to his studies early on and concentrated solely on guitar, playing with a variety of Japanese jazz groups throughout the '60s. During the early '70s, Kawasaki had relocated to the United States (New York, to be exact), where he played regularly with such jazz notables as Gil Evans, Elvin Jones, Chico Hamilton, and JoAnne Brackeen, and issued such solo releases as Juice, Ring Toss, and Nature's Revenge. Although he would issue several albums during the '80s (Little Touree, Ryo, Lucky Lady, etc.), Kawasaki had turned his back on musical performance and concentrated solely on penning music software programs for computers. Kawasaki also formed his own record label, Satellites Records, as he produced techno dance singles, but eventually returned back to his first love, releasing a steady stream of jazz releases once more, starting in the early to mid-'90s (Love Within the Universe, Sweet Life, Cosmic Rhythm, Reval, etc.). ~ Greg Prato

Ryo Kawasaki - 1976 - Juice

Ryo Kawasaki 
1976 
Juice




01. Raisins 6:17
02. Sometime 4:42
03. The Breeze And I 7:20
04. East Side Boogie 6:00
05. El Toro 4:34
06. Bamboo Child 4:48
07. Andes 4:26

Lead Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
Bass – Stu Woods
Drums – Jimmy Young
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Tom Coster
Percussion – Muhammad Abdullah
Rhythm Guitar – Hugh McCracken
Synthesizer, Percussion – Mike Lipskin
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Sam Morrison

Recorded, mixed and mastered at RCA, New York.


Ryo Kawasaki was born on February 25, 1947, in Koenji, Tokyo, while Japan was still struggling and recovering from the early post World War II period. His father, Torao Kawasaki, was a Japanese diplomat who had worked for The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1919. Torao worked at several Japanese consulates and embassies, including San Francisco, Honolulu, Fengtian (then capital of Manchuria, now Shenyang in China), Shanghai, and Beijing while active as an English teacher and translator for official diplomatic conferences. Ryo's mother, Hiroko, was also multilingual, and spoke German, Russian, English, and Chinese aside from her native tongue Japanese. Hiroko grew up in Manchuria and then met Torao in Shanghai. Torao was already 58 years old when Ryo was born as an only child.

Kawasaki's mother encouraged him to take piano and ballet lessons, and he took voice lessons and solfege at age four and violin lessons at five, and was reading music before elementary school. As a grade scholar, he began a lifelong fascination with astronomy and electronics (he built his own radios, TVs and audio systems including amplifiers and speakers as well as telescopes). When Ryo was 10, he bought a ukulele and, at 14, he got his first acoustic guitar. The album Midnight Blue by Kenny Burrell and Stanley Turrentine inspired Ryo to study jazz.

In high school, he began hanging out at coffee-houses that featured live music, formed a jazz ensemble and built an electric organ that served as a primitive synthesizer. By the time he was 16, his band was playing professionally in cabarets and strip joints. Although he continued to play music regularly, he attended Nippon University, majored in quantum physics and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree. Although he has failed to prove his main interest and intuitive belief at that time, which is to prove that speed (acceleration) of gravity must be much greater than speed of light. He also did some teaching and contest judging at the Yamaha musical instrument manufacturer's jazz school. Additionally he worked as a sound engineer for Japanese Victor Records and BGM/TBS Music where he learned mixing and editing.

He recorded his first solo album for Polydor Records when he was 22. Although he continued to perform with his jazz group, and at a young age was voted the No. 3 jazz guitarist in a Japanese jazz poll, Kawasaki spent most of the next three years working as studio musician on everything from advertising jingles to pop songs including countless radio and TV appearances. He recorded his second album for Toshiba when he was 24. He played with B.B. King at a blues festival and also met George Benson (they jammed for five hours at Kawasaki's house).

He also has recorded and worked with notable Japanese jazz musicians such as drummer Takeshi Inomata and Sound limits, saxophonist Jiro Inagaki and Soul Mates, saxophonist Keiichiro Ebisawa, saxophonist Seiichi Nakamura, pianist Masahiko Sato, saxophonist Hidehiko Matsumoto and many others.

In 1973, Kawasaki arrived in New York. A friend picked him up at the airport and offered him an immediate gig with Joe Lee Wilson playing at the Lincoln Center as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. Soon Kawasaki was jamming regularly as part of the jazz community's "loft scene", and was invited to play with Bobbi Humphrey. A few months later, Kawasaki walked up to his apartment and found a stranger waiting for him at his front door. It was Gil Evans and he invited Kawasaki to join The Gil Evans Orchestra (David Sanborn, Howard Johnson, Tom Malone, Lew Soloff) which was then working on a jazz recording of Jimi Hendrix compositions. Hendrix had dreamed up the concept with Evans, but Jimi died a week before the project started in 1970. Kawasaki also played on another Gil Evans album on RCA, There Comes a Time, with Tony Williams on drums. Kawasaki rehearsed for a month with the third edition of Tony Williams' Lifetime with trio format with bassist Doug Rauch working with Carlos Santana at that time, but Tony left to spend a year in Europe before the band got the chance to perform in public.

Kawasaki followed in the footsteps of Jim Hall, Gábor Szabó and Larry Coryell by becoming the guitarist in the Chico Hamilton Band, playing on a U.S. tour and working on various film scores that Chico recorded in Hollywood. Kawasaki made his debut U.S. album, Juice, in 1976 for RCA and was one of the first Japanese jazz artists to sign with a major label in the States. Sidemen on the project included Tom Coster (Carlos Santana) and Sam Morrison (Miles Davis). Kawasaki followed that recording with two more albums, Prism and Eight Mile Road, for the Japanese label East Wind. He also joined the Elvin Jones Band for a year-long tour of North and South America and Europe. By 1978, Kawasaki was tired of touring with other bands and returned to his own projects.

He explored Music of India, learned ragas and recorded an Audio Fidelity album, Ring Toss, that combined eastern and western music. With Dave Liebman he recorded Nature's Revenge for the German MPS label and they toured Europe. Ryo also toured European jazz festivals with Joanne Brackeen as piano – guitar duo, and they recorded a pair of albums—AFT and Trinkets and Things—for Timeless Records in the Netherlands. In Japan, Sony's Open Sky label signed Ryo for three albums—Mirror of my Mind, Little Tree and Live—the latter, recorded in a Tokyo club, was one of the first all-digital recordings. Notable musicians participated on those recordings include Michael Brecker, Harvey Mason, Leon Pendarvis, Azar Lawrence, Anthony Jackson, Lincoln Goines, Badal Roy, Nana Vasconcelos, Buddy Williams, Larry Willis, and Alex Blake. He also recorded an album called Sapporo for Swiss label America Sound in 1980 while touring Switzerland and Germany.

Kawasaki invented his own guitar synthesizer in 1979, and used it to perform numerous solo shows at planetariums from 1980 to 1983. He also formed the jazz-rock group The Golden Dragon and performed concerts regularly in the 1980s. Fostex developed the first quarter- inch-tape, eight-track recorder and asked Kawasaki to be the first artist to use it. He recorded the album Ryo in 1981 for Philips Records and gained notoriety for creating all the music himself. He played only a nylon-string acoustic guitar with all his backing tracks created on his guitar synthesizer including the entire original orchestration of Joaquin Rodrigo's well known Concierto de Aranjuez – Adagio movement. He did another similar recording, Lucky Lady, the next year.

When the Commodore 64 computer came out with a sound-chip in it, Kawasaki became fascinated by the possibilities. He learned to write computer programs and devoted 16 hours a day for two years creating four music software programs—Kawasaki Synthesizer, Kawasaki Rhythm Rocker, Kawasaki Magical Musicquill, and Kawasaki MIDI Workstation—distributed by Sight and Sound Music. The first three programs were for school and home use, and the last one was for professional studios. He created an all-synthesized album, Images, in 1987; and the soundtrack, Pleasure Garden, in 1990, for an IMAX film about the preservation of the Earth's endangered tropical rain forests.

From 1986 to 1990, Kawasaki produced a series of high-charting 12 inch dance singles—"Electric World", "One Kiss", "No Expectations", "Say Baby I Love You", "Don't Tell Me", "Wildest Dreams", "Life is The Rhythm", "Pleasure Garden", and "Acid Heat"—that mixed free-style, house, acid house and ambient sounds. All of the production was done at his home studio, The Satellite Station, and the records were released on his own label, Satellites Records. His band and a dance troupe also performed extensively in New York dance clubs. In addition, for five years (1988 to 1993), Kawasaki was the New York producer and director of two Japanese national weekly music radio programs, The Music Now and Idex Music Jam. In 1991. He also collaborated with Japanese koto master Kicho Takano and produced "Crystallization" in 1986.

Kawasaki's musical direction took another dramatic turn when he was signed by the new jazz and adult contemporary Japanese label One Voice as an artist and record producer. Kawasaki's return to jazz, and his first album for the label, was the 1992 acoustic solo guitar album Here, There and Everywhere (released on One Voice in Japan and on Satellites Records in the U.S.). Kawasaki has produced and performed on three albums by Brazilian singer and guitarist Camila Benson for this label. Ryo has continued to release a steady string of albums—the acoustic My Reverie (music from Bill Evans, Debussy, Ravel and Gershwin), the electric jazz guitar-oriented Love Within The Universe (which received considerable airplay across the country), "Remixes Remixes Vol. 1" (also featuring Benson), "Sweet Life" and CD releases of "Mirror of my Mind" (a jazz ensemble recording with Harvey Mason, Michael Brecker, Anthony Jackson, Leon Pendarvis and vocalist Radha Shottam).

His 1991 release Cosmic Rhythm features British singer lyricist Clare Foster along with Kawasaki's rhythm section Victor Jones on drums, Lincoln Goines on bass. The album also features David Kikoski on piano and Shunzo Ohno on flugelhorn. All the songs were arranged and recorded by Kawasaki including original ten songs by Ro himself.

During 1995–1999, three hip hop artists, Puff Daddy, Kool G Rap, and Keith Murray, recorded Kawasaki's original composition "Bamboo Child" on their latest albums more than twenty years after its original recording.

In 2001, Kawasaki released live a studio trio album "Reval", recorded in Tallinn, Estonia with Estonian musicians Toivo Unt on bass, Aivar Vassiljev on drums, and Kristi Keel on English horn.

His other projects include being a composer, music director as well as a guitarist for the jazz ballet "Still Point" for the Estonian National Opera House during 2000-2002. This ballet is choreographed by Russell Adamson, a native Jamaican who resides in Helsinki.

Kawasaki released his third acoustic guitar solo album 'E' in 2002.

From the year 2000 on, Kawasaki further expanded his live appearances into Russia and Baltic region Jazz Festivals. His quartet has appeared at Rigas Ritmi Jazz Festival in Riga/Latvia, Pori and other jazz festivals in Finland, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Saransk Jazz Ark Festival. He also appeared numerous times at Nõmme Jazz Festival in Estonia while assisting the production of this jazz festival.

Kawasaki's projects during 2005–2008 included guitar trio project with American drummer Brian Melvin and Estonian bassist Toivo Unt under the "Art of Trio" name, performing in a variety of venues in Finland, Sweden, and the Baltic states, and performing with Estonian vocalist Jaanika Ventsel, while also touring and recording in Japan for the duo project with bassist Yoshio 'Chin' Suzuki, their duo CD "Agana" was released in February 2007.

In 2008, Kawasaki formed jazz ensemble with Estonian pianist/keyboardist Tõnu Naissoo.[1] Also, his second duo CD with Yoshio 'Chin' Suzuki and first CD with "Art of Trio" were completed and released during 2009, while his composition "Raisins" was included on the Grand Theft Auto IV radio station Fusion FM in 2008.

"Juice" is the first official US release of Ryo Kawasaki, a Jazz Funk bijou recorded & mixed in New York in 1976. It shows off one skillful fusion, brilliantly introduced by the track "Raisins" (reminiscent of The Headhunters style), including deep grooves, Boogie Funk with electronic sounds & disco breaks, the aftermath from the James Brown & Herbie Hancock influences. The other titles include the funky climax "East Side Boogie", "The Breeze And I" (a kind of Samba Funk), "El Toro" with its powerful & dynamic beat and "Andes", all under the remarkable pulse from bassist Stu Woods. "Juice" keeps some influences on nowadays music as its recycling, naturally, in the Hip-Hop sphere : thus "Raisins" & "Bamboo Child" were sampled by various contemporary rap artists such as Kool G Rap or Puff Daddy. Furthermore, "Raisins" was also included in the Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack, broadcasted on the fictional radio station "Fusion FM" in 2008.

Ryo Kawasaki - 1976 - Eight Mile Road

Ryo Kawasaki 
1976
Eight Mile Road




01. Eight Mile Road 8:31
02. Montevideo 7:08
03. Good Night John 5:27
04. On The Dot 10:20
05. El Diablo 8:55

Ryo Kawasaki - electric guitar
Sam Morrison - Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone on Track 1,2,4 & 5
Andy Laverne - Piano, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet Hohner, Synthesizer Arp String Ensemble
Phil Clendeninn - Synthesizer ARP Odyssey on Track 1, 4 & 5
Herb Bushler - electric bass
Buddy Williams - drums
Abdulah - Congas Percussion on Track 1,2,4 & 5

Recoeded March 8, 9, 1976 at Electric Lady Studios, NYC.




Eight Mile Road is a follow up album to Prism (1975) recorded by Ryo Kawasaki for East Wind Records. At the time of this recording, he was working and touring with Elvin Jones Jazz Machine and the first two tracks of this album were conceived during the tour with this band. Track one, "Eight Mile Road", was written while visiting Jones' home town Detroit performing at Baker's Keyboard Lounge, while track two, "Montevideo", was written while visiting and performing with Elvin Jones in the capital of Uruguay.

In addition to the same rhythm section from Prism, Kawasaki has invited saxophonist Sam Morrison (who was the last saxophonist with Miles Davis band until Davis' retirement during 1975) and pianist Andy Laverne (from Stan Getz's band at that time) to add jazzy acoustic flavor over his jazz funk-oriented compositions and electric sound.

This album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios built by Jimi Hendrix, and also won the best recording of the year by Japanese Jazz magazine Swing Journal in 1976.

I came across this LP back in my college DJ days, in that it was one of those promotional copies.  I had never heard of Ryo Kawasaki before, and was immediately impressed with his guitar skills. But what sticks with me from this album is the cut "Montevideo", which seems to only have been placed on this LP.  I searched for a copy of the LP recently, and instead was able to find an out-of-print CD from Taiwan on eBay.  I immediately snatched it up.  This album is still unavailable (in any form), so I post it here for your enjoyment.  

Ryo Kawasaki - 1975 - Prism

Ryo Kawasaki 
1975
Prism



01. Agana 5:45
02. Joni 5:36
03. Nogie 8:45
04. Bridge:Sun 1:00
05. Phil 7:35
06. Bridge:Moon 1:15
07. Sweet Tears 7:53
08. Bridge:Star ("I Ain't Playin' No Gitar, I's Jus' Playin' With It") 0:14

Ryo Kawasaki - electric guitar
Phil Clendeninn - Fender Rhodes, Clavinet Hohner D-6, synthesizer Arp Odyssey, synthesizer Arp String Ensemble
Herb Bushler - electric bass
Buddy Williams - drums
Abdulah - Congas, percussion
Steve Turre - Shell, percussion


Prism is the first album recorded by Japanese musician Ryo Kawasaki after he relocated to New York City from Tokyo in Japan. He recorded additional two leader albums in Japan prior to this album. At the time of this recording, he was band member of Gil Evans Orchestra, Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, Chico Hamilton group and New York–based Jazz Fusion group Tarika Blue led by keyboardist Phil Clendeninn.

As a result, musicians participated on this album are his band mates from these groups, Herb Bushler from Gil Evans Orchestra, Abdulha and Steve Turre from Chico Hamilton group and Phil Clendeninn from Tarika Blue except drummer Buddy Williams was a member of George Benson group at that time often played with Ryo Kawasaki on his local gigs in NYC. The entire album was recorded in one afternoon and mixed in the next day to be completed.


Excellent early work from guitarist Ryo Kawasaki – a set that's got a leaner, meaner feel than some of his more polished later work – at a level that really lets Kawasaki shine throughout! The vibe is maybe a bit like CTI, but looser and more free – with wonderful colors and tones from Kawasaki as he finds his way on the album through a surprising range of styles – with great accompaniment from keyboardist Phil Clenninn, who plays Fender Rhodes, clavinet, and even some noisier Arp at times! The group also features Herb Bushler on bass, Buddy Williams on drums, Abdullah on percussion, and a young Steve Turre on shells – and titles include "Bridge Moon", "Bridge Sun", "Angana", and "Joni"

Sapporo - 1979 - Sapporo Featuring Ryo Kawasaki

Sapporo
1979
Sapporo Featuring Ryo Kawasaki




01. Frost Bite 7:55
02. Pinocchio 5:56
03. On The Wind 6:30
04. Moods 7:44
05. Joni 8:18
06. Isatope 2:23

Bass – Wayne Dockery
Drums – Heinz Lieb
Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
Lead Vocals – Ilana Morillo




Any info?


Joe Lee Wilson - 1976 - What Would I Be Without You

Joe Lee Wilson
1976
What Would I Be Without You




01. What Would It Be Without You 4:40
02. Blue Trane 6:05
03. Crucificado 6:50
04. Parting 8:15
05. The Lady 4:20
06. Nice And Easy (Such A Lovely Lady) 6:38


Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Monty Waters
Bass – Ronnie Boykins
Congas, Recorded By, Mixed By – Rashied Ali
Drums – George Avaloz
Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
Leader, Vocals – Joe Lee Wilson

Recorded at: Studio 77, 77 Greene St, N.Y.C. 10012



Part of Rashied Ali's Survival label reissue series. "It's hard to believe that What Would I Be Without You is the first US release from this great jazz vocalist. This 1977 recording is a long overlooked jazz gem highlighted with a warmth reminiscent of the best of jazz offerings. Working with a band featuring Monty Waters on sax, Ryo Kawaski on guitar, Ronnie Boykins on bass, George Avaloz on drums and Rashied Ali on congas; he has created a timepiece that remains a classic."


Vocalist Joe Lee Wilson, along with Leon Thomas, had the ability to vocalize with some of the most intense avant-garde jazz musicians: Wilson with Archie Shepp, and Thomas with Pharoah Sanders. Proof of Wilson's power is heard on Shepp's early '70s politically motivated dates on Impulse: Things Have Got to Change, The Cry of My People, and Attica Blues. The power from those dates unfortunately didn't translate into What Would It Be Without You, an early solo effort originally released on Rashied Ali's Survival label in 1975 and later reissued in 2000 on Knit Classics. Backing up Wilson on this session are free jazz stalwarts Ronnie Boykins on bass, Rashied Ali on congas, George Avaloz on drums, Monty Waters on alto and soprano sax, and Ryo Kawasaki on guitar. While this lineup creates exciting music, at times it has a tendency to overpower Wilson, making his delivery especially strained. The most cohesive vehicle between these players is the vocal version of Coltrane's "Blue Train" in which no one steps on the other, creating a much-needed united performance. Since Wilson is better suited as a guest than a leader, it's advisable to seek out the above-mentioned Shepp sessions for some of his best work.

Joe Lee Wilson - 1972 - Livin' High Off Nickels And Dimes

Joe Lee Wilson 
1972 
Livin' High Off Nickels And Dimes



01. The Theme / Aquarian Meloody
02. It's You Or No One
03. Strollin'
04. Jazz Ain't Nothin' But Soul
05. God Bless The Child
06. You Make Me Want To Dance

Bass – Stafford James
Drums – Napoleon Revels
Piano – Ray McKinley
Tenor Saxophone – Bob Ralston
Vocals – Joe Lee WIlson


The selection on this record are excerpted from a live radio concert on Columbia University's WKCR FM NYC
Recorded July 16th, 1972




At this point in his career, Joe probably was living off of nickels and dimes – despite the fact that he was one of the 70s hipper jazz singers, in a soulful spiritual camp that included vocalists like Andy Bey and Rufus Thomas. This album's a nice mellow effort, taken from a live show at Columbia Radio in 1972. The record features a nice moody reading of Harold Ousley's "Aquarian Melody", plus Horace Silver's "Strollin", Gloria Coleman's "You Make Me Want To Dance", and the groovy "Jazz Ain't Nothin But Soul"


Joe Lee Wilson obituary

John Fordham
Monday 18 July 2011 18.05 BST First published on Monday 18 July 2011 18.05 BST

The reputation of Joe Lee Wilson, the jazz vocalist, who has died aged 75, never matched those of such male stars as Jon Hendricks, Mark Murphy or Kurt Elling – yet his eloquent baritone voice invited him into their league, even if an easygoing nature and an inclination to sidestep the mainstream diverted him.

Wilson's rich sound reflected an African-American swing tradition that embraced such early black pop stars as Billy Eckstine, but he also drew on the raw passions of the blues, and fuelled the mix with the volatile ingredients of 1960s free-jazz. He performed with some of the music's biggest stars (including the saxophonist Sonny Rollins, and the trumpeters Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard), but also with such luminaries of the avant garde as the saxophonist, actor and writer Archie Shepp and the revolutionary drummer Sunny Murray.

Part African American and part Creek Native American, Wilson was born to farming parents near Bristow in Oklahoma. Early in life, he found he had almost instant recall of any song he heard once, and from discovering jazz through radio broadcasts by the jump-band star Louis Jordan, he moved on to Nat King Cole and Dinah Washington. When he was 15, he left the farm for Los Angeles.

Walking with his aunt on an LA street, the teenager heard a voice drifting from a club, singing the bebop anthem Parker's Mood. The singer was Eddie Jefferson, a pioneer of the vocalese style in which lyrics were written to famous improvised jazz solos – but when Wilson asked what the sound was, his aunt said it was "the devil's music". Wilson and Jefferson were soon friends, and the former would later observe that Jefferson's approach continued an African tradition of local history and experience expressed through poetry and song.

Wilson briefly studied classical singing, then jazz, at Los Angeles City College, and began to work the Santa Monica club scene – his first professional gigs being with Fletcher Henderson's alto saxist Roscoe Weathers, who told him: "As a musician sometimes you're gonna starve. You gotta learn to make your own work." The advice was to leave a lasting impression.

Wilson met the jazz diva Sarah Vaughan on the west coast, and heard most of the best bands in the country in California in 1958-59, including Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and the Miles Davis band that made Kind of Blue. From 1959, he worked in Mexico, and was spotted there in 1960 by the singer Ernestine Anderson – who advised him to contact her New York booking agent. Wilson was reluctant to move at first, but he quickly realised that jazz's cutting-edge was being honed in NYC. Wilson met Shepp, the writer LeRoi Jones (subsequently Amiri Baraka), and Murray. They liked the newcomer's sound and his appreciation that jazz was in transition, and both Shepp and Murray invited him to sing their music.

In 1968, Wilson tied with Sly and the Family Stone for first prize on NBC's show Talent Search, and won a record deal with Columbia, but the company never released his albums. In the 1970s, he rented a building on Bond Street, close to the famous Rivbea loft run by the saxophonist Sam Rivers and his wife Bea, and built the 100-capacity music room he called the Ladies' Fort. Wilson understood the value of promotion, and encouraged other local lofts to join a loft association and run a regular music festival.

Some of Wilson's best known recordings were with Shepp, with whom he collaborated on landmark albums such as Things Have Got to Change (1971) and Attica Blues the following year. Livin' High Off Nickels and Dimes was a 1972 recording of a live radio show from Columbia University, and three years later, Wilson had a radio hit on New York stations with his rousing account of Jazz Ain't Nothing But Soul.

In 1977, he married his English partner Jill Christopher and moved to Europe. He periodically worked with the pianists Bobby Few and Billy Gault, and in recent years had toured the UK with local musicians, partnered by the formidable American pianist Kirk Lightsey. Wilson made the Candid Records album Feelin' Good during this period (its highlight was an unrehearsed duet with Lightsey on the poignant ballad There's No You) and a fine 2004 album with Italian musicians entitled Ballads for Trane – the intertwining of his voice with the tenor saxophonist Gianni Basso recalled the partnership of Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane in the 1960s.

Last year, despite having undergone heart surgery, Wilson travelled to Tulsa to be inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and dedicated the song he performed there to Barack Obama.

Wilson is survived by Jill and their daughter Naima.

Val Wilmer writes: Joe Lee Wilson was a man with a sense of history and a generous person who shared whatever he made. When we met in New York in the early 1970s, he was singing at Trude Heller's, the epitome of Greenwich Village sophistication, and recording with Archie Shepp. At the Ladies' Fort some time later, he featured mainstream musicians including Count Basie, the saxophonist Frank Foster and his hero, Eddie Jefferson, as well as free players: Earl Cross, Monte Waters, Hakim Jami and Benny Wilson.

He fell on his feet when he met Jill, a UN translator. She gave me a place to stay in New York while I was completing my book As Serious As Your Life, and a year later, in 1977, Joe moved into my flat in Balham, south London. Within half an hour he had discovered the betting shop and within a day thrust a large sum of money into my hands – my "share" of his winnings. He cooked, washed clothes and did the ironing, then when Jill arrived, they raided the butcher's for lamb chops and goat, and he cooked up enough to last us a week.

It was a period of racial tension, with the National Front marching in Lewisham. I failed to persuade my visitors to join the protest, but when I returned from the demo injured and bleeding – hit over the head while taking photographs – they were dismayed. Nursing my headache in a darkened room, I groaned at the sound of distant hammering. Then Joe Lee appeared, towel full of crushed ice in hand, and proceeded to wrap it gently around my head. They left London to move into Jill's house in Kemptown, East Sussex, where Joe became a much-loved Brighton figure.

• Joe Lee Wilson, jazz singer, born 22 December 1935; died 17 July 2011

Joe Lee Wilson - 1969 - Without A Song

Joe Lee Wilson 
1969
Without A Song



01. Without A Song
02. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set
03. Soul Lady
04. Sphirlov
05. Hawk Is Talkin
06. Hey Look At You
07. Why Did You Come Into My Life?
08. Return Of The Prodigal Son
09. Feeling Good

Acoustic Bass – Bob Cunningham
Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Monty Waters
Congas – Rashid Ali
Drums – Art Lewis
Guitar – Kenny Burrell, Wally Richardson
Percussion [Latin] – Rumas Clinton Barret
Piano – Danny Mixon (tracks: A5, B4), Kenny Barron
Tenor Saxophone – George Barrow
Trombone – Astley Fennell*
Trumpet – Jim Bossy, Martin Banks, Virgil Jones
Vocals,arranged By – Joe Lee Wilson

Recorded Nov. 11 and 12,1969 at A&R Sound Studio,N.Y.C.




Part African-American and part Creek Native American, Wilson was born in Bristow, Oklahoma, to farming parents Stella and Ellis Wilson.

As his band's name, Joy of Jazz, suggests, Wilson's baritone personified the life-affirming nature of jazz and blues. Seeing Billie Holiday perform in 1951 began his interest in a music-industry career. Moving to Los Angeles at the age of 15, he went to Los Angeles High School, where he majored in music and sang in an a cappella choir. Graduating with honors in 1954, he won a scholarship to the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, where he studied opera, leaving after a year and then attending Los Angeles Junior College. He began singing with local bands in 1958 and toured the West Coast, where he sat in with Sarah Vaughan, and down to Mexico. Relocating to New York in the 1962, he worked with Sonny Rollins, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, and Jackie McLean. During the 1970s, Wilson operated a jazz performance loft in New York's NoHo district known as the Ladies' Fort at 2 Bond Street. His regular band, Joe Lee Wilson Plus 5, featured the alto saxophonist Monty Waters (from Modesto, California) and for several years the Japanese guitarist Ryo Kawasaki, before the latter left to lead his own group. Archie Shepp and Eddie Jefferson were frequent collaborators at these sessions.

He also sang with Eddie Jefferson, Freddie Hubbard, and Kenny Dorham. He recorded a live radio program at WKCR-FM, Columbia University, on July 16, 1972, which was released as an album, Livin' High Off Nickels & Dimes, on the short-lived Oblivion Records in New York. Wilson's rendition of "Jazz Ain't Nothing But Soul" was a radio hit on New York jazz radio in 1975.

In 1977 he and his English wife Jill Christopher moved to Europe. While based in Paris, Tokyo, and the United Kingdom (for a time living in the London flat of Val Wilmer, before settling in Brighton, Sussex),[3] he recorded regularly with the American pianist Kirk Lightsey, including the Candid recording Feelin' Good. One of Wilson's last albums was an Italian recording with Riccardo Arrighini and Gianni Basso, Ballads for Trane (Philology W707.2).

Wilson was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in November 2010, where he gave his last public performance. Having had heart surgery in 2009, he died of congestive heart failure at his Brighton home in 2011, aged 75.

One of the '70s most striking jazz vocalists, Joe Lee Wilson blended a strong, stirring baritone voice and good delivery with a swinging style and savvy selection of material. The results made him quite popular for a few years, especially on college campuses in the Northeast. Wilson studied classical singing, and attended Los Angeles City College in the '50s, where he studied jazz. He toured the West Coast and Mexico as a jazz vocalist in the late '50s and moved to New York in 1962. Wilson worked with Sonny Rollins, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders, and Jackie McLean in the '60s, then in 1971 and 1972 sang with Archie Shepp. His dynamic lead vocals on such Shepp albums as Things Have Got to Change and Attica Blues won Wilson recognition, as did his recordings as a leader and performances with Sunny Murray, Mtume, and Billy Gault. Wilson operated a loft in New York, the Ladies Fort, from 1973 to 1978, and appeared at the 1973 Newport in New York and the 1975 Live Loft festivals. He recorded with Clifford Jordan in 1977, then moved to London in 1978. Wilson toured Europe, performed in London clubs, and did some periodic New York dates, but never regained his earlier momentum. Many of Wilson's albums were reissued on CD in the 2000s, and Shepp's Attica Blues was reissued in 1993.

Joanne Brackeen & Ryo Kawasaki - 1978 - Trinkets And Things

Joanne Brackeen & Ryo Kawasaki 
1978 
Trinkets And Things



01. Trinkets And Things 5:08
02. Shadowbrook Air 5:58
03. Winnie And Woodstock 5:18
04. Fair Weather 4:42
05. Whim Within 6:36
06. Spring Of Things 7:27
07. Haiti B 7:24

Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
Piano – Joanne Brackeen

Recorded 13th August 1978 in CI Studio, NYC.



Her two-handed piano style may remind you at first of McCoy Tyner -- and there are similarities -- but Brackeen's playing is all her own, and she moves through shifting modal jazz and fiery Post-Bop changes with ease. One hand is fast and free, blazing through long twisting passages and sweeping back with a quick brush of the wrist, while the other hand angrily stomps out open-sounding chords and dissonant clusters of notes that were never intended to be together. Brackeen cut her teeth with players like Charles Lloyd and Dexter Gordon, then moved into Art Blakey's group as the first female member of the Jazz Messengers. After playing with Joe Henderson and Stan Getz in the '70s, she's gone on to record a stream of albums, each with its own grouping of cream-of-the-crop sidemen -- including young lions like Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard in later years.

Joanne Brackeen & Michael Brecker - 1977 - Tring-A-Ling

Joanne Brackeen & Michael Brecker
1977
Tring-A-Ling 




01. Shadowbrook-Aire 12:08
02. Fi-Fi's Rock 4:35
03. Echoes 9:11
04. Haiti-B 12:39
05. New True Illusions 5:56
06. Tring-A-Ling 6:31
07. New True Illusions 6:10

Bass – Cecil McBee, Clint Houston
Drums – Billy Hart
Piano – Joanne Brackeen
Tenor Saxophone – Mike Brecker




Pianist Joanne Brackeen's fourth recording as a leader was her first to include a horn, but she made a strong choice. Tenor great Michael Brecker is on three of Brackeen's challenging originals, along with alternating bassists Cecil McBee and Clint Houston, plus drummer Billy Hart. The pianist's music is complex and quite tricky, but more accessible than expected due to the close interplay between the superb musicians and the variety of rhythms utilized. Open-minded listeners are advised to check this one out.

Joanne Brackeen - 1977 - Aft

Joanne Brackeen
1977 
Aft




01. Haiti B 7:35
02. Charlotte's Dream 5:04
03. Dreamers 5:31
04. Aft 6:28
05. Winter Is Here 7:31
06. Green Voices Of Play Air 9:09

Bass – Clint Houston
Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
Piano – Joanne Brackeen

Recorded at CI Recording Studio, NYC, December 30, 1977




Joanne Brackeen is a gifted pianist and composer whose harmonically advanced, creatively complex, and rhythmically adventuresome music greatly enhanced the development of jazz during the closing decades of the 20th century. Born Joanne Grogan in Ventura, CA on July 26, 1938, she was mostly self-taught but did study at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. Although her earliest inspiration was pop pianist Frankie Carle, her life was permanently altered by the music of Charlie Parker and she rapidly developed into an aspiring jazz pianist. By the late '50s, in fact, she was gigging with saxophonists Teddy Edwards, Dexter Gordon, Harold Land, Charles Lloyd, and Charles Brackeen, a friend of trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer Ed Blackwell. After getting married, the two relocated to New York City in 1965 and were eventually divorced, after which she raised their four children even as her artistry blossomed under the influence of McCoy Tyner, Ornette Coleman, and Chick Corea.

Between 1965 and 1968, Joanne Brackeen appeared on five different albums released under the name of soul-jazz vibraphonist Freddie McCoy. After working with trumpeter Woody Shaw and saxophonist David Liebman she became the first woman ever to gig and record as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1969-1972), and can be heard on Blakey's album Catalyst along with trumpeter Bill Hardman and saxophonist Carlos Garnett. From 1972-1974 she worked with saxophonists Joe Henderson, Joe Farrell, and Sonny Red, as well as mouth organist Toots Thielemans. She began releasing albums under her own name in 1975 while collaborating with saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Stan Getz, with whom she was recorded in live performance at Copenhagen's Cafe Montmartre in 1977. In 1982 she assumed greater control over her career by becoming her own manager.

For decades Brackeen's trios helped to define the steadily evolving tradition of modern jazz as she sought out musicians whose creative integrity and improvisational facility matched her own, such as bassists Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Rufus Reid, Cecil McBee, Clint Houston, and Eddie Gomez, an ex-member of the Bill Evans Trio who became one of her preferred collaborators. Brackeen's choice of musical company has always been unwaveringly excellent, and has included drummers Jack DeJohnette, Al Foster, Idris Muhammad, Roy Haynes, and Billy Hart (like Gomez a trusted ally whose involvement with Brackeen's ensembles spans decades). Brackeen's guitarists have included Ryo Kawasaki, John Abercrombie, Earl Klugh, and Joshua Breakstone; she has made great music with trumpeters Freddie Hubbard, Terence Blanchard, and John McNeil; with flugelhornist Ed Sarath, and with saxophonists Gary Bartz, Tom Scott, Michael Brecker, Bob Berg, Glen Hall, Lew Tabackin, Branford Marsalis, Donald Harrison, and Chris Potter, as well as vocalist Kurt Elling.


In her maturity Brackeen achieved greater recognition as a composer and as a solo performer, even while continuing to record with some of the most exciting and creative musicians on the scene. During the '90s her fascination with Brazilian music resulted in Breath of Brazil (released in 1991), Brasil from the Inside, an album released in 1992 with guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta, and drummer Duduka da Fonseca (a team that became internationally known as the Trio da Paz), and Take a Chance, a quartet offering that appeared in 1993. In 1994 she joined saxophonist Ivo Perelman on his imaginatively stoked tribute to composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, Man of the Forest. Other Brazilian composers whose works have inspired Brackeen are Antonio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, and Gilberto Gil. In 2001 Brackeen recorded Eyes of the Elders with saxophonist Talib Qadir Kibwe, an Abdullah Ibrahim alumnus now operating under the name T.K. Blue, and with veteran multi-instrumentalist Makanda Ken McIntyre on what was unfortunately to be his very last album, New Beginning. A survivor of many years in an economically challenging and at times unhealthy working environment, Joanne Brackeen is an internationally acclaimed improvising artist and a respected educator at the Berklee College of Music.


This is one of the more obscure Joanne Brackeen recordings. Although the pianist is heard in a trio with guitarist Ryo Kawasaki and bassist Clint Houston, the music sounds nothing like Nat King Cole or Oscar Peterson. Actually Brackeen long ago developed her own distinctive chord voicings and, even when one hears touches of McCoy Tyner or Chick Corea in her solos, in reality she sounds like no one else. Her close interplay with Kawasaki and Houston on the six group originals (four by Brackeen) is consistently impressive and unpredictable.

Gil Evans - 1975 - There Comes a Time

Gil Evans 
1975
There Comes a Time




01. King Porter Stomp 3:48
02. There Comes A Time 16:10
03. Makes Her Move 1:25
04. Little Wing 5:03
05. The Meaning Of The Blues 5:51
06. Aftermath The Fourth Movement Children Of The Fire 5:45
07. Anita's Dance 2:53

Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – David Sanborn
Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Howard Johnson
Celesta [Celeste], Timpani [Tympani], Congas, Cowbell – Sue Evans
Drums – Tony Williams (tracks: A1, A3 to B4), Bruce Ditmas (tracks: A2)
Electric Bass – Herb Bushler (tracks: A1, A3 to B4), Paul Metzke (tracks: A2)
Electric Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
French Horn – John Clark, Pete Levin, Peter Gordon
Percussion [Vibes], Marimba, Chimes, Gong, Drum [Tuned] – Warren Smith
Percussion, Tabla, Cuica – Bruce Ditmas
Piano, Electric Piano, Percussion [Celeste] – Gil Evans
Steel Guitar, Synthesizer [Drums], Bells – Joe Gallivan
Synthesizer – Paul Metzke
Synthesizer, Organ – David Horowitz, Pete Levin
Synthesizer, Piccolo Flute – Tom Malone
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Billy Harper, George Adams
Trombone – Joe Daley, Tom Malone
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Ernie Royal, Lew Soloff
Trumpet, Koto, Vocals – Hannibal Marvin Peterson
Tuba – Bob Stewart (tracks: A1 to B1, B4), Howard Johnson, Joe Daley (tracks: B2, B3), Tom Malone



This CD reissue of Gil Evans' There Comes a Time differs greatly from the original LP of the same name. Not only are there three previously unreleased performances ("Joy Spring," "So Long," and "Buzzard Variation"), but "The Meaning of the Blues" has been expanded from six minutes to 20, and two numbers, "Little Wing" and "Aftermath the Fourth Movement/Children of the Fire," have been dropped (the former was reissued on Evans' Jimi Hendrix tribute album) and the remaining four tracks were re-edited and remixed under Evans' direction. So in reality, this 1987 CD was really a "new" record when it came out. The remake of "King Porter Stomp," with altoist David Sanborn in Cannonball Adderley's spot, is a classic. The "new" version of "The Meaning of the Blues" is memorable, and overall the music (which also has solos by Billy Harper and George Adams on tenors, along with trumpeter Lew Soloff) is quite rewarding, it's a creative big band fusion that expertly mixes together acoustic and electric instruments. This was one of Gil Evans' last truly great sets.

Gil Evans - 1974 - The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix

Gil Evans 
1974 
The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix 





01. Angel                                
02. Crosstown Traffic                    
03. Medley                              
  a. Castles Made From Sand      
  b. Foxy Lady      
04. Up From The Skies                    
05. 1983--A Merman I Should Turn To Be    
06. Voodoo Chile                        
07. Gypsy Eyes                          
08. Little Wing                          
09. Angel (alt tk)                      
10. Castles Made Of Sand (alt tk)        
11. Up From The Skies (alt tk)          
12. Gypsy Eyes (alt tk)                  
                             
Arrangements, Conductor Gil Evans
Trumpet Marvin "Hannibal" Peterson
Trumpet Lew Soloff
Horn Peter Gordon
Horn, Synthesizer Pete Levin
Trombone Tom Malone
Bass Clarinet, Tuba Howard Johnson (tubist, etc.)
Saxophone David Sanborn
Reeds Billy Harper
Reeds Trevor Koehler
Keyboards Dave Horowitz
Guitar Keith Loving
Guitar John Abercrombie
Guitar Ryo Kawasaki
Bass Michael Moore
Bass Don Pate
Drums Bruce Ditmas
Percussion Warren Smith
Percussion Sue Evans
Trumpet Ernie Royal
Horn Jon Clarke
Trombone, Tuba Joe Daley
Tuba Bob Stewart
Reeds George Adams (saxophonist)
Bass Herb Bushler
Bass Paul Metzke
Drums Tony Williams
Percussion Joe Gallivan




This CD reissue (which adds additional material to the original LP program) is much more successful than one might have expected. Jimi Hendrix was scheduled to record with Gil Evans' orchestra, but died before the session could take place. A few years later, Evans explored ten of Hendrix's compositions with his unique 19-piece unit, an orchestra that included two French horns; the tuba of Howard Johnson; three guitars; two basses; two percussionists; and such soloists as altoist David Sanborn, trumpeter Hannibal Marvin Peterson, Billy Harper on tenor, and guitarists Ryo Kawasaki and John Abercrombie. Evans' arrangements uplift many of Hendrix's more blues-oriented compositions and create a memorable set that is rock-oriented, but retains the improvisation and personality of jazz. [This album was re-released in 2002 on the Bluebird label with four bonus tracks from the same sessions.]

Elvin Jones - 1977 - Time Capsule

Elvin Jones
1977
Time Capsule




01. Frost Bite
02. Digital Display
03. Moon Dance
04. Time Capsule
05. Spacing

Drums - Elvin Jones
Bass - Milt Hinton (1-2), Juni Booth (3-5)
Electric Piano - Kenny Barron
Flute - Frank Wess (1-2)
Guitar - Ryo Kawasaki
Percussion - Angel Allende
Alto Saxophone - Bunky Green
Soprano Saxophone - Frank Foster (2)
Tenor Saxophone - George Coleman (1, 3-5)




Elvin Jones' final album for the Vanguard label in 1977 was his most melodic and "produced" album from the period. His trademark fiery style is slightly reigned in within these highly arranged and produced tracks, which delve further into group-based jazz-funk fusion - quite different from the looser, post-electric Miles jamming which infused the previous year's "The Main Force", which I posted yesterday.

That said, there's some great playing and textures on "Time Capsule", with ample solo space offered and taken with gusto within these tighter structures. After this album, Jones would return to more 'traditional' post-bop territory and acoustic instrumentation with his newly-named "Jazz Machine" on 1978's "Remembrance" for the MPS label.

Guitarist Ryo Kawasaki and percussionist Angel Allende return from the previous album. Whereas Kawasaki's electric edge somewhat stood out on "The Main Force", here it has become something of the norm. Once again he holds composition credits for the opening track : "Frost Bite".

With the reeds players working more in unison melodies, and Kawasaki contributing single lines and wah-chops, Kenny Barron's fender rhodes holds much of the harmonic background for the album. He had appeared on one track of 1975's "New Agenda", but here he's a strong presence throughout.

Barron's solo work is great on tracks like "Time Capsule", "Spacing". and my personal standout track "Moon Dance" (see preview at top of post). The album catches Barron in his peak period as a rhodes player, coming after his albums "Sunset to Dawn", "Peruvian Blue" and "Lucifer" ; and just before "Innocence", after which he would mainly return to acoustic piano. So one more for the Kenny on electric piano discography.

Only Frank Foster remains from the previous album's reeds lineup, here just contributing his soprano sax to Ed Bland's track "Digital Display".

Drummer alert! Mark Feldman has transcribed some of Elvin's patterns for "Digital Display" over here at "Bang! The Drum School".

The dominant new guest here is alto saxophonist Bunky Green, who composed three of the five tracks here. After a decade-long recording break he had returned earlier in the year with his Vanguard album "Transformations", also produced by Ed Bland. Much of that album borders on proto-"smooth jazz", with highly modal covers of pop hits, but on "Time Capsule" he has a rougher, more interesting edge, perhaps from the company he's keeping here.

Tenor saxophonist George Coleman had played on some of Jones' later Blue Note releases, as well as a few Strata-East releases like Charles Tolliver's "Impact!" ; the Jazz Contemporaries' "Reasons In Tonality" and Keno Duke's "Sense Of Values". In 1977, the same year as this album, he also played on Charles Earland's "Smokin".

At this stage, prolific flautist Frank Wess was straddling both the jazz world and the disco-funk session game - recent credits had included albums as diverse as Sister Sledge's "Circle of Love"; Van McCoy's "Disco Baby"; Oscar Brown's "Brother Where Are You"; Woody Shaw's "Rosewood"; and Crap Jazz Covers' favourite, "Sweet Buns and Barbecue" by Houston Person.

In the few years preceding this album, bass player Juni Booth had worked on Larry Young's "Lawrence Of Newark" ; McCoy Tyner's "Song of the New World" and "Atlantis"; and Joe Bonner's "Angel Eyes" . 2nd bassist Milt Hinton has been described as probably appearing "on more records than any other musician", so feel free to peruse his thirteen pages of credits.