Saturday, November 5, 2016

Eric Dolphy - 1964 - Last Date

Eric Dolphy
Last Date

01. Epistrophy 11:15
02. South Street Exit 7:10
03. The Madrig Speaks, The Panther Walks 4:50
04. Hypochristmutreefuzz 5:25
05. You Don't Know What Love Is 11:20
06. Miss Ann 5:25

Flute, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone – Eric Dolphy
Bass – Jacques Schols
Drums – Han Bennink
Piano – Misha Mengelberg

Recorded June 2, 1964, Hilversum, Holland.

Eric Dolphy was a true original with his own distinctive styles on alto, flute, and bass clarinet. His music fell into the "avant-garde" category yet he did not discard chordal improvisation altogether (although the relationship of his notes to the chords was often pretty abstract). While most of the other "free jazz" players sounded very serious in their playing, Dolphy's solos often came across as ecstatic and exuberant. His improvisations utilized very wide intervals, a variety of nonmusical speechlike sounds, and its own logic. Although the alto was his main axe, Dolphy was the first flutist to move beyond bop (influencing James Newton) and he largely introduced the bass clarinet to jazz as a solo instrument. He was also one of the first (after Coleman Hawkins) to record unaccompanied horn solos, preceding Anthony Braxton by five years.

Eric Dolphy first recorded while with Roy Porter & His Orchestra (1948-1950) in Los Angeles, he was in the Army for two years, and he then played in obscurity in L.A. until he joined the Chico Hamilton Quintet in 1958. In 1959 he settled in New York and was soon a member of the Charles Mingus Quartet. By 1960 Dolphy was recording regularly as a leader for Prestige and gaining attention for his work with Mingus, but throughout his short career he had difficulty gaining steady work due to his very advanced style. Dolphy recorded quite a bit during 1960-1961, including three albums cut at the Five Spot while with trumpeter Booker Little, Free Jazz with Ornette Coleman, sessions with Max Roach, and some European dates.

Late in 1961 Dolphy was part of the John Coltrane Quintet; their engagement at the Village Vanguard caused conservative critics to try to smear them as playing "anti-jazz" due to the lengthy and very free solos. During 1962-1963 Dolphy played third stream music with Gunther Schuller and Orchestra U.S.A., and gigged all too rarely with his own group. In 1964 he recorded his classic Out to Lunch for Blue Note and traveled to Europe with the Charles Mingus Sextet (which was arguably the bassist's most exciting band, as shown on The Great Concert of Charles Mingus). After he chose to stay in Europe, Dolphy had a few gigs but then died suddenly from a diabetic coma at the age of 36, a major loss.
Virtually all of Eric Dolphy's recordings are in print, including a nine-CD box set of all of his Prestige sessions. In addition, Dolphy can be seen on film with John Coltrane (included on The Coltrane Legacy) and with Mingus from 1964 on a video released by Shanachie.

Allegedly Eric Dolphy's final recorded performance -- a fact historians roundly dispute -- this session in Hilversum, Holland, teams the masterful bass clarinetist, flutist, and alto saxophonist with a Dutch trio of performers who understand the ways in which their hero and leader modified music in such a unique, passionate, and purposeful way far from convention. In pianist Misha Mengelberg, bassist Jacques Schols, and drummer Han Bennink, Dolphy was firmly entwined with a group who understood his off-kilter, pretzel logic concept in shaping melodies and harmonies that were prime extensions of Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor. These three Dolphy originals, one from Monk, one from Mengelberg, and a standard are played so convincingly and with the utmost courage that they created a final stand in the development of how the woodwindist conceived of jazz like no one else before, during, or after his life. Utterly masterful on his flute during "You Don't Know What Love Is," Dolphy's high-drama vibrato tones are simply out of this or any other world, perfectly emoting the bittersweet intent of this song. The ribald humor demonstrated during "Miss Ann" is a signature sound of Dolphy's alto sax, angular like Monk, jovial and more out of the box while he digs in. Where "Epistrophy" might seem standard fare to some, with Dolphy on bass clarinet it is based on voicings even more obtuse than the composer's concept, bouncing along the wings of Mengelberg's piano lines. The post-bop blues of "South Street Exit" is tuneful while also breaking off into tangents, with Bennink's crazy drumming acting like shooting, exploding stars. As the definitive track on this album, "The Madrig Speaks, the Panther Walks" demonstrates the inside-out concept, with mixed tempos changed at will and a 6/8 time insert with Dolphy's choppy alto merging into playful segments as the title suggests -- a most delightful track. The ridiculously titled "Hypochristmutreefuzz" might be the most understated fare in its more simple angularity, as Schols plays his bass in the upper register while the band dances around him. Last Date is one of those legendary albums whose reputation grows with every passing year, and deservedly so. While it reveals more about the genius rhythm section than Dolphy himself, it also marks the passing of one era and the beginning of what has become a most potent and enduring legacy of European creative improvised tradition, started by Mengelberg and Bennink at this mid-'60s juncture.

Roland Topor - 1975 - Panic The Golden Years

Roland Topor
Panic The Golden Years

01. Panic
02. Panic

Roland Topor (1938 - 1997) was a French illustrator, painter, writer, filmmaker and actor who generally made surrealistic and absurd works. He is known for the novel The Tenant which was later adapted to a movie by famous director Roman Polanski and for being one of the creators and illustrators for the magical psychedelic French/Czech animation movie  La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) from 1973.

In 1962 he created the Panic Movement (named after the god Pan) together with Spanish screenwriter, pataphysicist and poet Fernando Arrabal and Chilean director and writer Alejandro Jodorowsky. They did numerous performances and theatre works to oppose surrealism becoming mainstream. You can see a performance here. Topor also wrote songs for French/Japanese singer Megumi Satsu who was friends with French sociologist Jean Baudrillard. So all pieces of the puzzle of life and deviancy are here.

This record of Roland Topor came out in 1975 for an exhibition of his work at the Stedelijk Museum (museum of modern art) in Amsterdam in an edition of 500 copies. It's a truly crazy record in which Topor speaks French and Dutch in an insane avant-garde slapstick manner. It's a humorous yet gripping recording that shows the genius and insanity of one of the most unique artists of the 20th century.

Highly Recommended!

East Bionic Symphonia - 1976 - Recorded Live

East Bionic Symphonia 
Recorded Live

01. Part 1 (7.30 P.M. ~ 7.47 P.M.) 19:23
02. Part 2 (8.15 P.M. ~ 8.43 P.M.) 28:26

Recorded July 13, 1976 live at Bigakko in Jimbocho, Kanda, Tokyo.

Kazuo Imai – guitar, viola da gamba (upright descant viola), electronics, snake charmer
Kaoru Okabe – found object
Yasushi Ozawa – bass
Tomonao Koshikawa – piano, potentiometers
Hiroshi Shii – wand, water stick
Masami Tada – sound performance, natural materials used as thrown percussion, FX
Tatuo Hattori – FX, electonics
Kazuaki Hamada – percussion, FX
Masaharu Minegishi – whistles, sound performance
Chie Mukai – kokyu (Chinese upright fiddle)

This large ensemble was formed in March 1976 by students of Taj Mahal Travellers leader Takahisa Kosugi. Their sole LP* is number 33 in the Japrocksampler Top 50. They briefly re-formed as the superb Marginal Consort in 1997 - in many ways this new ensemble was far superior as is evidenced by their outstanding album release.

* Henk Zuurveld notes that the original album was released in 1976 by ALM Records. The LP's label number is: al-3001 and also includes an insert.

The Bigakko art school in mid-70s Tokyo yielded an interesting group of ten students. The school, regarded as a 'failure' in educational counter-culture that resulted from a political shift in Japanese culture a decade earlier, has seen an examination from many sources in the past decade as a revolution in educational formatting. The East Bionic Symphonia is, perhaps, the most recognized result of the institution; instructor Takehisa Kosugi (Taj Mahal Travellers) taught the students the theory and art behind experimental music over the course of two years. This live recording was the graduation project of the group, their learnings culminating into a spellbinding atmospheric envelopment of drone-based improvisation.
It's cathartic, and certainly comparable to Taj Mahal Travellers in many ways. A staple of the Nurse With Wound list, the East Bionic Symphonia utilizes a firm intellectual approach to sonic production. It's bashful yet bold, quietly manipulating the listener's senses into a trance guided only by the the indiscernible objects and their resulting sounds.
There's a considerable amount of focus required for the appreciation of such a record, but considering the attention gained in recent years by similar groups from the NWW list, it's guaranteed to appease the listeners yearning for an alternative take on avant-garde music history.

Tokyo Kid Brothers - 1972 - Saiyuki - The Moon Is East The Sun Is West

Tokyo Kid Brothers 
Saiyuki - The Moon Is East The Sun Is West

01. Opening
02. Junlika
03. Speech Young Girl
04. The Moon Is East, The Sun Is West
05. Motorbike
06. Jumping Song
07. Boxing Song
08. Back To The Earth
09. Trip Of Budist
10. Instrumental
11. Song Of Mao
12. Festival
13. Red Soldier
14. Happy
15. Red Star Of China
16. Goeika
17. Finish

The Japanese theatre commune The Tokyo Kid Brothers (founded 1969) puts the Japanese after was problems to the question. Their stile has been inspirated by the "Matsuri" (Japanese farmer and fisher festivals) and by the traditional "Kabuki" theatre. In 1970 they played "Golden Bat" for two month at La Mama Theatre and for three month at the Sheridan Square Playhouse in New-York. In 1971 they played the "Story of Eight Dogs" for five weeks at the Shaffy Theatre in Amesterdam. This show titled "Sayuki" (The Moon is east, the sun is west) has already got great success in London in May of this year.

Recording made in Amsterdam, May 1972.

Tokyo Kid Brothers - 1971 - Throw Away The Books

Tokyo Kid Brothers 
Throw Away The Books,

01. ピース~ダダダ 6:10
02. 花いちもんめ 1:47
03. あなたの思い出 3:07
04. 健さん愛してる 3:14
05. 親父なんか大嫌いだのロック 3:23
06. 母捨記 4:02
07. 東京巡礼歌 4:46
08. フリーダム 2:51
09. あるボクサーの死 2:51
10. 1970年8月 3:23
11. 息を殺してる 3:08
12. エンディング・テーマ 5:45

Bass – 石川圭樹 Keiju Ishikawa (tracks: A1, A5, B4)
Guitar – 左右栄一 Eiichi Sayu (tracks: A1, A5, B4)
Organ [Electone] – 柳田博義 Hiroyoshi Yanagita (tracks: A1, A5, B4)

Soundtrack album to the 1971 Shuji Terayama film, Sho O Suteyo Machi E Deyō

I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some outstanding music in the past seven days, some of it contempo, some of it retro. Among the gems on my ipod at the moment, are Tokyo Kid Brothers – Throw Away the Books, Let’s Go Into the Streets.
Glorious, psychedelic japanese freakout music from 1971 that is sure to blow your mind, this is a brilliant fun album, that I know has been talked about to death on the good old blogg-o-sphere but I can’t help it if I’m a little behind everyone else when it comes to brilliant music. Better late than never.
Anyway, the Tokyo Kid Brothers were a Music Theater Commune who, despite operating for thirty years or so, left almost no trace of their existence. Even when they started making soundtracks, the only existing copy of their music appeared in the movie itself, which is why you’ll hear dialogue, sound effects, and incidental noise in addition to the actual music. Although this soundtrack is even more compelling when accompanying the movie (Tokyo Pilgrimage Poem, for instance, is doubly wrenching when it plays over the protagonist losing his virginity to a prostitute hired by his father), just listening will give you an idea of the wild, genre hopping, Boredoms-like intensity of this group. Bearing in mind the soundtrack’s release was a few years delayed, Tokyo Kid Brothers were making this stuff when everyone thought the White Album was so freaking crazy. Influential, revered, unmissable.
Track One: Starts with trash song and trash singing that drags you in with the enthusiasm. traditional styles of psych mix with the vocals to scream the thrill as you drink in your introduction to this great album. This moves into a bizzarre female voice over – my Japanese is non-existent so I can’t help with any kind of interpretation here, then the track moves into this pounding drum explosion followed by tight choral work in a sound off echo sitation with a main voice. This is a great introduction to the rest of the album.
Track Two: is nothing more than a subdued piano solo to help you get your breath back after the outlandish exhuberance of track one. But it doews help you understand there will be so much more than you expect to this outfit.

Track Three: Somber drums and a slowed down psych feel drag you into track three (one of my favourites on the album) and then starts to propell you forward as the track builds and builds to a find credshendo. Vocals are poured throug the song without the clumsey weight of words – the groaning sounds almost a capella style. I adore this track and confess to giving it a coupe of goes over (something i try not to do – but every now and then I am weak)

Track Four: We’re back to a fairly simple piano and slight backing arrangement that underly a stunning vocal again on track four. Again, I can’t interpret here, but the musical style is one of those error laced vocal stlye that really works soemtimes. Choral work again comes in with strength and this turns out (without interpretation) to be a pleasant track on the album.

Track Five: Great Stuff!  Nothing screams raw power at you like Japanese in full flight. This is great this track, the full weight of a potant culture pressing itself into pure seventies psych. The guitar work here deserves a mention – its amazing. This is another standout on the ablbum and a track to remind you, you do not know what to expect here.

Track Six: Back to pure psych- this sounds more like a song out of HAIR than teh rest of the album.  Again, its the enthusiastic choral work that gives the track its power.  What wouldn’t we give to have been a part of this commune?

Track Seven: Somber cymbal beats start this track off, though its soon joined by that great choral work we’re getting used to from this album. Again its the build that gets you, but then there is that male voice that comes in with the tears. I haven’t seen the film, neighther can I understand the language, but I get the language of tears and the sufering here is edgy. The chant of the other male voice beneath it underlies whatever trgedy is going on.

Track Eight: We’re back in pure synth psych land again here, propelling us toward the end of the album. Everything we;ve come to love from this album is in this track. The energy is back for this track, the force and power of the album that is so compelling. That choral work is hypnotic. the keyboard work here will blow your mind.

Track Nine: Back with something more slow and meaning ful here for track nine.

Track Ten: A wonderful, catchy pop-ish song here with nice synth over the top of it, and a catchy chorus.
Track Eleven: Another beautiful slow song (this time with female vocals) rounds out the second last track. All the way though this album we are kept in tough with that magnificent Japanese kitch we love, and its in abundance with this track. The sleazy vocals sliding all over, teh male voice moving in, the slipperyness of this track underlied by its pure force makes it another stand out on the album.

Track Twelve: The final track on the album is pure voice over with a slow music underscore behind it. You and I both suffer from my inability to interpret here. Apologies.

Sounding as thrilling and berserk as J.A. Caesar in full flight, this amazing interpretation of Shuji Terayama's 'city play' is by far and away this ensemble's finest hour. The psychedelic guitar riffs are said to be the work of Flower Travellin' Band's Hideki Ishima, the stock chatter, the screaming, and the chorale all supporting rumours that Caesar himself was involved. Only the movie version betters this ecstatic performance. Formed in 1968 by former Tenjo Sajiki member Yutaka Higashi, the company was initially known as Kiddo Kyodai Shokai ('Kid Brother Company'), as Higashi had chosen the eight other members from students at his old high school. In 1969, they opened a stage shop in Shibuya called 'Hair', and performed their next work Tokyo Kid' in July 1969. In early spring 1970, Hair's producer was so impressed by their new Golden Bat production that he considered paying for them to perform in New York. When this fell through, they decided to pay their own way and became Tokyo Kid Brothers to clarify their background to the American market. Apart from this album, few Tokyo Kid Brothers works are essential, many being actual mainstream musicals. A 6CD box released by P-Vine Records a few years ago collected together materia! from Victor, Polydor. Warner Pioneer and Toshiba EMI Records. Originally released between 1971 and 77, this highly mixed bag was of variable quality; some of it was so downright bland that prospective buyers of this lot should ensure they hear albums before buying anything from the huge back catalogue.

Tokyo Kid Brothers - 1971 - Songs Of Story Of Eight Dogs

Tokyo Kid Brothers
Songs Of Story Of Eight Dogs

01. 紫陽花邑幻想 3:58
02. 幸福論 1:37
03. ロビンソンクルーソー 3:55
04. ワンワンロック 2:25
05. ももたろう 3:40
06. 漂流記 2:34
07. 木槍 2:09
08. 夢祭 4:40
09. 森を忘れるな 2:51
10. 霧にかくれたニッポン 2:12
11. 涙がちっていく 4:34
12. リュミエール 5:14

Alice Jun, Fumiko Taniya, Hiroaki Iiyama, Itsuroh Shimoda, Keiko Kawafune, Koichi Miura, Kyohei Shibata, Machiko Koike, Michiko Kanai, Naoko Tsubota, Noboru Mine, Yasuko Kitamura

This vinyl is a private pressing of the recording of the play “The Story of Eight Dogs” by Japanese musical theatre group Tokyo Kid Brothers. In 1971 they played the "The Story of Eight Dogs" for five weeks at the Shaffy Theatre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This record came out in very limited quantities in Holland during their period of performing in Amsterdam.

These NWW-listers stand in a similar tradition as other counter-cultural musical theatre outfits like the American Living Theatre or Théâtre Du Chêne Noir from France. Tokyo Kid Brothers was founded by Yutaka Higashi in 1968 and made some very weird recordings during the early seventies like the albums “Throw away the books let’s go into the streets” and "Golden Bat" from 1971. Those are being regarded as two of the most important cornerstones of Japanese freak-out psychedelia from the seventies. They should reissue that stuff on vinyl. Tokyo Kid Brothers' early sound was reminiscent of other Japanese acid fuelled underground groups like J.A. Seazer and Food Brain, but also brings to mind some of the more free-form krautrock bands like Amon Düül and Faust. During that era The Tokyo Kid Brothers performed quite often outside of Japan, like New York and Amsterdam.

This recording has some great seventies underground jams combined with intense Japanese vocals. Also the difference between audience and actors at times becomes blurry when they involve the audience and try to teach them about Japanese language characters and so on in a subversive and playful manner. All with a great Japanese English accent.

My copy is not in the best shape as you can see and is quite crackly. It might have had an insert, but I don’t have it. The record doesn’t list titles of the songs, which doesn’t really matter, because it was meant as a play. Anyway this is crazily rare if you’d ask me and absolutely essential to all Japanese psych-heads and NWW-list fans.

“The history of eight dogs is the story of the Japanese young generation in reality and illusion. We came to Holland: Exodus from Japan!”

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1979 - Hot Menu - Live At Newport Jazz Festival '79

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 
Hot Menu - Live At Newport Jazz Festival '79

01. Introduction - Rabbit Dance 14:50
02. Mina's Second Theme 10:03
03. Sunayama 14:20

Alto Saxophone, Alto Clarinet – Akira Sakata
Drums – Shota Koyama
Piano – Yosuke Yamashita

Recorded live on June 29, 1979 at "Jazz at the Symphony", as part of Newport Jazz Festival, New York.

Beginning in the '70s, his trio toured widely and played many major European events, including the Berlin and Montreux jazz festivals. Yamashita's U.S. debut was at the 1979 Newport Jazz Festival; he also recorded with members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago around that time.
June 29, 1979 in the "Jazz at the Symphony", as part of the Newport Jazz Festival, New York, Yosuke Yamashita Trio presented in the best way, material from their latest studio album „Sunayama“.

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1978 - Sunayama

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 

01. Sunayama 18:58
02. Usagi No Dance - Dedicated To Pepi 15:06
03. Anomachi Konomachi

Yosuke Yamashita – piano
Akira Sakata – alto saxophone
Shohta Koyama – druma, percussion

Yasuaki Shimizu – tenor saxophone
Hitoshi Okano – trumpet
Kenji Nakazawa – trumpet
Shigeharu Mukai – trombone
Kiyoshi Sugimoto – guitar (track B1)

Recorded at Victor Studio, Tokyo, Japan on June 21 and 22, 1978.

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1977 - Umbrella Dance

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 
Umbrella Dance

01. Umbrella Dance Part I
02. Umbrella Dance Part II
03. Umbrella Dance Part III

Alto Saxophone, Alto Clarinet – Akira Sakata
Drums – Shohta Koyama
Piano – Yosuke Yamashita

recorded June 16, 1977 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg, West Germany

Japanese pianist Yosuke Yamashita (1942) formed a bass-less trio in 1969 with drummer Takeo Moriyama and tenorist Seiichi Nakamura, documented by the live albums Dancing Kojiki (july 1969), Jazz In Tokyo '69 (august 1969) and Concert In New Jazz (september 1969), and by the studio albums Mina's Second Theme(october 1969) and Mokujiki (january 1970), by the live albums Trio By Trio + One (may 1970), '70 Jazz Festival In Nemu (july 1970) and Summer Jazz In Tokyo (august 1970), and finally by the studio album April Fool/ Coming Muhammad Ali (november 1971).

Alto saxophonist Akira Sakata took Nakamura's place in 1973. The jams of the trio (and the pianist's stormy style) were captured on Live 1973 (july 1973), that contained a 19-minute version of Yamashita's Ballad for Takeo (19:01) and a 22-minute version of Akira Sakata's Zubo (22:22), Yosuke Yamashita Trio(november 1973), Clay (june 1974), with his signature theme Clay, Frozen Days(september 1974), Chiasma (june 1975),Banslikana (july 1976), Arashi (september 1976).
Shohta Koyama replaced Moriyama on Umbrella Dance (june 1977)...

A great moment of Japanese free jazz, one of my favorite albums. Enjoy, and if you can, necessarily to purchase this trio. The magic is intoxicating, is waiting for you.

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1977 - Arashi

Yosuke Yamashita Trio

01. Moonlight Desert  (11:57)
02. Flower Corpse  (6:06)
03. Prelude by Gong and Human Voices  (3:28)
04. Ghosts Part I  (2:14)
05. Ghosts Part II  (4:20)
06. Golden Veins of a Leaf  (4:03)
07. Nihility Mobs: Interlude by Footsteps  (1:47)
08. An Age Is a Sunlight Coming through the Foliage of the Woods  (10:21)
09. Theme for Arashi  (2:58)
10. Great Nihility Conference: Part I-V  (21:07)
11. A Hairstic and a Liliputian Part I  (0:51)
12. A Hairstic and a Liliputian Part II  (0:17)
13. A Fan and a Doll  (0:49)
14. The Future War  (0:46)
15. Forest in Forest Shade  (1:01)
16. Theme for Arashi  (18:43)
17. Moonlight Desert  (2:55)

Yosuke Yamashita: piano, percussion
Akira Sakata: alto saxophone, clarinet, percussion
Shohta Koyama: drums, percussion

Gerald Oshita: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, percussion
Dairakudakan (Maro Akaji, Ushio Amagatsu, Ko Murobushi, Tetsuro Tamura, Man Uno, Naohiko Torii, Kosei Inao, Nanten Harada, Junpei Sakai, Yosuke Matsuzawa, Mutsuko Tanaka, Anzu Furukawa, and Keiko Katsumata): Butoh dance

Recorded at Nihon Seinenkan on September 29, 1976.

LP size inserts: 4 page booklet with photos and Japanese text, 1 sheet with text and credits in Japanese.

"Arashi" is exceptional album in history of Japanese avant-garde jazz. Recorded in September 1976 and released next year, it is kind of swan song of country's free jazz golden era.

Pianist Yosuke Yamashita beside of Masahiko Satoh is a key person in Japanese avant-garde jazz piano. Heavily influenced by Cecil Taylor, Yosuke has his own sound though - not so heavy,very fast,colder(more mechanical?)and kind of sliding. Still main "Akashi"'s hero is not him, but excellent sax player Akira Sakata who at the time was regular member of Yamashita Trio. With third trio member Shota Koyama and guest reedist Gerald Oshita band surprisingly often sounds as much bigger orchestra. Being a direct recording from live show with 13-piece Butoh dance troupe, double album contains some places where not much happens (at least musically) what made it a bit inconsistent (obviously video version could fill that gap), but it doesn't destroy the overall impression too much.

Starting from catchy cover art (with one of dancers pictured in action)and very first opener's sounds the listener can expect something non-ordinary and he wouldn't be disappointed. Almost twelve-minutes long opener "Moonlight Desert" is perfect tuneful song with one sax playing almost straight beautiful melody and the other jumping and squawking all around with unbelievable speed and intensity.

In longer than one and half hour concert there are everything you want - free jazz sax acrobatics, characteristic Eastern percussion,ethnic Japanese elements and ambient noises,blended with dancers steps on the scene's floor,which can be well heard in moments and than become part of rhythm section. There are trio's very own version of Albert Ayler's "Ghosts"(Ayler was a very strong influence to sax player Akira Sakata) or better to say - two versions, which cover vinyl version Side A and opens Side B. The later contains screaming vocals (in Japanese) by its intensity and emotional level beating highest Japanese standards.

Central album's part (partially sides B & C) are filled mostly with short minimalist piano-led miniatures, sometimes almost groovy, in moments - near classic, almost all - elegantly beautiful,which most probably serving dance troupe actions. Still two longer pieces (between 18 and 21 minutes long) return band on the front of the scene.

Very variable, this album has that cinematic feel when the music is of so good quality that being formally a soundtrack for theatrical action is successfully living its own life. And even more - all this is played and performed live - and that real-time atmosphere is perfectly presented.

Even late 70s already weren't so great for such music in Japan, it's just a miracle how such a large-scale show/recording ever happened. Very soon domestic free jazz stars will go low profile playing small underground venues or re-switching to always popular on Japanese scene hard bop.

So what does that free jazz of Albert Ayler have in common with Japanese trio, discover it here...

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1976 - Montreux Afterglow

Yosuke Yamashita Trio
Montreux Afterglow

01. Ghosts 21:25
02. Banslikana 22:48

Drums – Takeo Moriyama
Piano – Yosuke Yamashita
Saxophone – Akira Sakata

Recorded in live on July 9, 1976 at Casino de Montreux.

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1975 - Up-To-Date

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 

01. Duo (Introduction)
02. Chiasma
03. Up-To-Date
04. Up-To-Date

Drums – Takeo Moriyama
Piano – Yosuke Yamashita
Saxophone – Akira Sakata

Recorded At – Koseinenkin Kaikan, April, 28. 1975

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1975 - Chiasma

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 

01. Double Helix 4:24
02. Nita 4:51
03. Chiasma 7:14
04. Horse Trip 3:44
05. Introhach 4:05
06. Hachi 12:50

Alto Saxophone – Akira Sakata
Drums – Takeo Moriyama
Piano – Yosuke Yamashita

Recorded live June 6, 1975 at the Heidelberger Jazztage.

One of the things so exciting & precious about these guys is their commitment to doing battle in the outer-limits, as in do-or-die, foot through the floor fulgurous-ferocity. There’s just no fucking around, they ALWAYS deliver, & their over-spilling magnanimity & direct & staunchly substantial application renders that charred, direct-hit satisfaction. More than anything actually, the most consecutive, tremulous & assaulting component is Takeo, who only seems to be interested in “going for guts” & enforcing his speed-fixated, mesomorphic fanaticism & budo enhanced (surely?) power, consistently collapsing the foundries & throwing their severed pieces in a million directions. His power, stamina & fury are legendary phenomenology, but also his punctilious & tight playing, with clean & vicious rolls galore shredding adversaries & obstacles. The guy even looks the part, like notorious 1960’s psycho lone gangster actor Bunko Sugiwara, aviators, Buddhist crop, flaccid fag lolling out his chops á-la tepodama-hoodlum & attire to match (perhaps a tanto in the waist-line?!). Takeo is the only member that never seems to contrite or enact remission, he’s just always killing it & enmeshes intensity even on the very rare slower/para sections. As for Sakata, this guy makes the sax screel like a banshee, constantly bursting the nerve with those high pitched strained screamers & super-fast prismic- paracemes.

He endows some of the most emotive & non-rational imprecation to edge-up the instability. & of course we have Yosuke himself, definitely the most dynamic member who sometimes rides the current & plays a series of variables (rather than solely erratic & fast) & fractal techniques. When not careening all over the keys with his cohorts rankled & rash explosives, he mangles many forms of vaguely traditional & melodic motives with the drastic & dissolute free-form of aggressive improvisation & Avant-Garde. Together at full reciprocity velocity, these philippic conflagrating aiguilles of remorseless jocund excess, tearing through like some kind of biblical storm, bursting & inspissating with over-abundance & splendorous savagery just chop the blocks like nobody’s business. Amazing! & one of the best & most intense Off-Road Free Jazz experiences available.

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1974 - Frozen Days

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 
Frozen Days

01. Prophase
02. Double Helix
03. Chiasma
04. Interphase
05. Mitochondria

Alto Saxophone – Akira Sakata
Drums – Takeo Moriyama
Piano – Yosuke Yamashita

Recorded on 25th to 28th September, 1974 at Crown Record No.1 Studio.

Here’s one of the most staggering, energetically-strenuous, bedlam-hoisting dynasties in explosive bisecting Free Jazz intensity. As independent musician’s these laureates each excel in their own immense pedigree, but as a trio entity they fused & co-founded a hulking opalescent deluge of atom splintering, non-negotiable, prolonged-pandemonium-pummel-prism & volleyed forth a massive concatenation of consistently eviscerating recordings with a reliability & emblem of quality for the most excruciatingly effusive of outbursts. Lead & founded by pianist Yosuke Yamashita, most references encountered refer to him as “The Japanese Cecil Taylor”! Taylor has clearly been a tremendous inspiration for Yosuke who has frequently eulogized him & lavished his idol with the highest of adulation as well as sharing at least one performance together. But Yosuke & indeed his trio are no epigone or second-rate plagiarists. Paired with long time affiliate saxophonist Akira Sakata, an absolute madman of screaming, implacable excoriation, manic instability & one of the most truly ferocious, precise & demolishingly devastating drummers of all time Takeo Moriyama, they unleash an unimaginably ascetic sustained avalanche of bellicosity & divine-wrath of mythical man-beast mensuration. like martial-deities, they foment an allo-secular degree of extremes, urgency, threat & sybaritic smouldering impetuosity & emotion-lead rampageous incandescence.

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1974 - Clay

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 

01. Mina's Second Theme 21:15
02. Mina's Second Theme (Cont.) 7:35
03. Clay (Dedicated To Muhammad Ali) 15:15

Clarinet, Alto Saxophone – Akira Sakata
Drums – Takeo Moriyama
Piano – Yosuke Yamashita

Date: June 2, 1974
Location: Live at the open-air III, New Jazz Festival in Moers, Germany.

Special thanks to the festival management, the WDR broadcasting station and Burkhard Hennen for their kind cooperation.

This owns, ladies and gents! More excellent blowing from the sax player (Akira Sakata, I think), who mixes almost Ornette-like lyricism with much more prominent lung-powered dissonant fireworks, more impeccable and relentless drumming from Moriyama (who could put out a legion of speed metal freaks easily), and Yamashita”s persistent piano lines (it is amazing how this man could pull out so much from the high-pitched register of his piano) are blooming everywhere, the recording captured all the magic of this trio. In one word: ferocious. More like Bruce Lee than Casius Clay, if you ask me.

 I'm amazed at the sheer energy and stamina of these three musicians. Keeping it going at full throttle for well over 40 minutes is no mean feat and there is an intensity and an underlying sense of violence

Heady stuff in other words and a source of inspiration for a younger generation mixing the in your face attitude of punk and rock with the abandonment of free impro. Perhaps no wonder that Sakata has recently played with the Scandinavian power trio The Thing. Mads Gustafson is a huge admirer, which shouldn't surprise anybody listening to these tracks.

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1973 - Live

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 

01. Improvisation #1
02. Ballad For Takeo
03. Clay
04. Zubo
05. Mitochondria

Yosuke Yamashita: piano
Akira Sakata: alto saxophone
Takeo Moriyama: drums

Another supremely powerful modesty-obliterating epicurean fight to the death from some of the maddest amongst madmen –  theYosuke Yamshita Trio. This one has actually only just been released on Jasrac but was captured live during Inspiration & Power Free Jazz Festival in Shinjuku, 1973. These monstrously formidable champions are on peak form & sear a cataclysmic five track set of astonishing intensity with very little refuge offered.The point of contention here is the sound/recording clarity. It’s considerably lo-fi (snatched on a Sony TC-2850 SC cassette recorder). It’s a pity, especially in the presence of such sublime ferocity & passion, but it’s also to my ears adequate – you can hear everything clearly & with a reasonable dose of power, but no doubt the full potency is diminished. Overall though, I feel this album is still fantastic & generally speaking I don’t deem the recording detraction a significant issue.  If you are new to the unique fury of YYT you are still going to be pleasantly smithereened by their incredible turmoil & tempestuousness, & if you’re a devoted acolyte like myself with a massive quarry of their releases – I definitely think this is an important addition/extension. The five tracks are Improvisation 1, Ballad For Takeo, Clay, Zubo & Mitochondria. Generally this is the kind of recording you would expect to find on blogs as a download. It’s nice that a label is granting this stuff an official release with a curt but plush card-wallet sleeve. A phenomenal musical strike-force no matter which way you look at it.

Yosuke Yamashita Trio - 1972 - Tenshi No Kokotsu

Yosuke Yamashita Trio 
Tenshi No Kokotsu

01. Tenshi no Kokotsu M-3 (9:44)
02. Umitsubame (3:34)
03. Ore wa Wakamatsu Koji da! (1:15)
04. Umitsubame Ver. II (3:12)
05. Koko wa Shizukana Saizensen (5:51)
06. Tenshi no Kokotsu M-6 (7:09)

All tracks except 3 recorded for the film Tenshi no Kokotsu

Music by Yosuke Yamashita (1, 6) and Michio Akiyama (2, 4, 5)
Words by Masao Adachi (2, 4, 5)

Yosuke Yamashita Trio (1, 4, 6)
Yosuke Yamashita: piano
Takeo Moriyama: drums
Seiichi Nakamura: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone

Rie Yokoyama: vocal (2, 4, 5)
Michio Akiyama: guitar (2, 5)
Koji Wakamatsu: talk (3)

Messianic maniac pianist Yosuke Yamashita & his strong-arm accomplice drummer Takeo Moriyama wreck an ecstatic hurtling asteroid of incalculably feral chaos & convulsion in the original Yosuke Yamashita Trio set-up that included super Seiichi Nakamura (Akira Sakata had yet to elide with Yosuke & Takeo) on reeds. This truly phenomenal album strays from the Yosuke Yamashita Trio’s standard riveting rampage in two distinct deviations – the onslaught is disrupted/diversified by the inclusion of vocalist Rie Yokoyama on three of the albums five tracks, layering a slow sassy simmering. Secondly, the album is a soundtrack for the cult 1972 film by Koji Wakamatsu & therefore has certain themes that colour this superb outing with specific expressions & descriptions that may not have flourished had the boys been cut-loose in their own typical berserk modus-operandi cathexis. Not that that would be a problem (I can’t really get enough of the YYT) but whatever direction or divarication they are under on this occasion, it has resoundingly yielded immaculate results. This is an extraordinarily powerful & perfervid, risqué-vogue gambit pulling on the impetuous, irrational & impassioned with a deeply sensuous & barely-controlled cusp-of madness úber Avant-Garde riptide. To simplify it, it’s violent, recusant sexualized Avant Jazz complimenting a violent, recusant sexualized Avant-Garde film…which influences the other more? (it’s well worth watching the movie) is a destination for debate & how much of the concept determined some of the brilliance that resulted here is a pretty fascinating issue.

Let’s just run through the tracks first… the CD’s first detonation is a 9.45 melt-down, pretty much an all-out meteorite-shower as is the standard procedure of utter bedlam & seething scathe for YYT. Takeo prefaces solo with a brusque warm-up manoeuvre to prime the joints for combat before the dash for nirvana commences with a terse series of escalating high-notes (the only recurrent bridge/group-syncopation amongst this saturation of pure pandemonium), no doubt denoting to that enraptured apogee. Yosuke & Takeo charge along as a duelling-duo in total megrim before the second syncopation crashes in & fires Seichi into the typhoon. he makes a marvellous adaption to such torrential circumstances…he is less wild than Sakata, smouldering-hard & with brash intemperance, but also conjuring a marvellously confused hybrid of traditional splices that meld & misceginate, mid-flight. It does not always work when practitioners combine the energies in such a fusion, but this is a stark triumph! The billowing, battering bat-shit-crazy belligerence surges through all obstacles with divine destruction! glorious! The recoding quality & mastering is also scintillating & amongst the best finish I have heard to music of this calibre.

Tracks two & five are melancholic ballads sung by Rie Yokoyama accompanied by an acoustic guitarist Michio Akiyama (the YYT are absent). there is a real strength of atmosphere, & the mixture of these tracks, juxtaposed against the full group has a wonderful interaction on the overall disk/experience.

Track three is a voice only or interview excerpt from Wakamatsu.

The fourth track may perhaps be my favourite, a louche & lascivious steam-room sodden in nocturnal energy, intoxication & pheromones. It’s like watching a big-cat straining against a flaying rope that’s only just restraining it (for the moment), edgy, dissolute, unhinged, improprietous & uninhibited. Amazing!

The last track is another low-lying prowler of skittering brushes & poised threat, clearly ready to pounce/blow/erupt with the smallest prompting. It’s used twice in the movie to compliment the Avant-it-crowd of dissident frondeurs to great effect.

Stunning stuff! I would definitely declare this a node of explicit importance in the Yamashita back-catalogue (which is really sayin’ summit’). The CD booklet & tray-card design are all excellent, with many stills from the film.

And indeed the film also is well worth investigating. It’s stuffed with sex & violence as you would expect, but is not quite the weary Japanese psychosexual bilge that’s so copious. Well shot & with Avant-Garde editing (the best sequence involving Yamashita & Moriyama) about a renegade cell of urban-guerrillas in Tokyo blasting (literally) convention a new arsehole.

The CD is pretty difficult to get outside of Japan. I find it depressing that shops & distributions the world over don’t make more effort to attain, share & support the more specialist/spectacular stuff. But those that are serious will always find a way.